2020!! This year was a surprise package, brought places to stand still, confined people to their homes with absolutely nothing apart from essential activities taking place over the past few months. These unprecedented times also dented the sports activities everywhere and Motorsport racing was no different from that. The 70th year of Formula 1 racing, Formula 1 2020 season was all set to be kickstarted in Melbourne, Australia on 15th March 2020 only to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What followed was a few months on uncertainty along with some tremendous work put forth by FIA and all the management teams involved to get the races to start by July 5th, 2020.
A total of 17 races were finalized in parts to make the season get along and get a decent number of races being organized. This included double races at Austria (Styrian GP), Silverstone (70th Anniversary GP), and Bahrain outer track (Sakhir GP). The new tracks compared to 2019 were Mugello (Tuscan GP), Nürburgring (Eifel GP), Portimao (Portuguese GP), and Imola (Emilia Romagna GP). This was done to minimize the travel and therefore it meant that continents like Asia, Australia, North and South America were bound to cancel their races. 2020 was the first time Formula 1 was not racing at the iconic but one of the slowest Formula 1 circuit – Monaco.
In the 9 races completed so far, Mercedes leads the way with 325 points which include 7 race wins and 14 podiums. Redbull is a distant second with a 3-way battle between McLaren, Racing Point, and Renault for 3rd place. Scuderia Ferrari has had a miserable outing in this season so far and is currently languishing in 6th position and well off the place of their main rivals.
Among the drivers, Lewis Hamilton leads with 190 points which include 6 race wins and brings him just one short of the record of Michael Schumacher who had 91 wins throughout his star-studded career. Hamilton’s teammate Valterri Bottas and Redbull’s Max Verstappen pose to be Hamilton’s closest rivals. Pierre Gasly managed to win an incredible race at Monza and it was for the first time in a half a decade that we had a podium which had neither of the top 3 teams – Mercedes, Redbull and Ferrari.
This series is often considered as the steppingstone to Formula 1. It takes place with a difference in the schedules though, a weekend has 2 races run in Formula 2 as compared to one in Formula 1. The 2 races are called the feature race and the sprint races. The feature race is the longer duration race where every driver must mandatorily pit once and use 2 compounds of tires available for the race. The sprint race does not have any such mandatory pit stop and the drivers can choose to race with any of the available sets of tires. Formula 2 is a spec series as opposed to Formula 1 which initially means that every car on the grid is the same. Though there are teams involved in Formula 2 as well that is only for managing the race. Each team has 2 drivers racing for them.
A very important point to note here is Formula 2 has Indian participation this year in the form of Jehan Daruvala. The young driver was under the Sahara Force India Academy until Force India was sold to Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll. Jehan Daruvala is currently under the Red Bull Academy and racing for Carlin Motorsport in the 2020 Formula 2 championship. He consistently maintained the second position in the Formula 3 championship until the last round where he was pipped by Robert Schwartzman and hence finished 3rd. He has had the 4th position as his best performance during the 70th anniversary weekend.
And as we write this, Jehan Daruvala qualifies in 2nd position for the Russian GP feature race. He was 0.006 seconds off his team-mate Yuki Tsunoda in what transpired to be an extraordinary session for the Carlin team. We wish Jehan all the best for the feature race tomorrow.