The 2020 F1 Races That Flopped and Made Us Snore

Published 01/02/2021, 3:13 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 13, 2020 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen passes the chequered flag to win the race Pool via REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


This season was the most action-packed in recent memory. Due to the COVID pandemic, 15 races were jam-packed into a five-month calendar. Not only that, but it also saw a return of historic F1 tracks such as Imola and Turkey.

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While some tracks produced enthralling races, others produced quite boring ones. Thus, fans are calling for a permanent change to the calendar in the future.

Which races could be under threat next season because they flopped this year?

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Spanish Grand Prix

While there is nothing wrong with the overall design of this track, it had limited on-track action this season, which has been the trend for a few years now.

Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – August 14, 2020 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel during practice | Courtesy: REUTERS/Albert Gea/Pool

Fans may have to look all the way back to 2016 to recall the last time they saw an adventure at this track – when Verstappen won his maiden race, courtesy of the Hamilton-Rosberg first collision. Since this provides the perfect environment for winter testing, it will not be scrapped from the F1 calendar. So, fans have to swallow this race weekend like a bitter pill.

Russian Grand Prix

Yet again, the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton emerged victoriously. However, there was not much action anywhere else either. Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff attributes it to the various run-off areas that this circuit has. This does not punish the mistakes of a driver in the way a gravel trap might.

“I disagree with the direction that we have taken with racing on oversized supermarket car parks.

“It takes the factor of the driver and his skill away,” Wolff said.

Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff during the press conference | COURTESY: FIA/Handout via REUTERS

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Similar to Sochi, this is a relatively new track design. The overtaking element, especially in modern cars, is virtually non-existent. Though the season-finale at the Yas Marina Circuit was a fresh change of scenery with Red Bull taking the win, the overall racing spectacle was more about tire management than close wheel-to-wheel combats.

What can the FIA do to improve these F1 races next season?

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It does not look like the FIA will remove these races from the calendar, as these races provide them with much-needed revenue; however, revamping them might be an option. Maybe run a reverse race at Abu Dhabi next time? Or maybe have a gravel trap in Sochi?

Whatever they might choose to do, they have to act swiftly or risk losing the viewership of their loyal fans.

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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