This year’s Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, which will be held earlier than usual on the weekend of July 17-19, is one of only a handful of races confirmed in this year’s calendar, main organizer Liberty Media announced.
Hungarian sports daily Nemzeti Sport reports that of the eight confirmed races, the Hungarian one will be the third, with the first two ones held in Austria from July 3 to July 5 and the second from July 10 to July 12. Formula One had to resort to some trickery here because its own rules only allow one national race per championship, hence the first race in Austria will be the Austrian Grand Prix, while the second will be the Styrian Grand Prix, named after one of Austria’s provinces. Both will be run on the Spielberg circuit.
Similarly, Silverstone in Britain will also host two races: the British Grand Prix, followed by the Emirates 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
All eight races are currently set to be run behind closed doors that are “operating under the strongest safety procedures”, Formula One announced in a tweet.
“Discussions lasted more than two months, there were several possible dates and it eventually came down to July 19,” Zsolt Gyulai, managing director of the Hungaroring track told Nemzeti Sport. “During the race held behind closed doors, we will take into account all epidemiological rules and are in constant consultation with the authorities, as we don’t just want to organize a good race, but we would also like to ensure the safety of everyone in the paddocks.”
Hungarian media reported, however, that Hungarian race organizers — as the country did in the previous stages of the coronavirus pandemic — are closely monitoring how Austria is handling safety, and they do not exclude that a limited number of viewers can still be allowed to watch the race live.
Hungary held its first Formula 1 race back in 1986 when it was still under communist rule and the Hungarian Grand Prix was the first one in which the race was conducted behind the Iron Curtain. It has been a permanent fixture in the F1 calendar ever since and the event is assured to remain in Hungary until at least 2026.
In normal years, the race attracts up to 200,000 viewers, and together with the Sziget music festival, is one of the two main tourist attractions of the summer season.
Title image: Formula 1 Grand Prix in Mogyoród, Hungary. (Nemzeti Sport/Imre Földi)