Formula One has announced the first eight dates of its rescheduled calendar as the sport aims to return to racing on July 5 in Austria.
The first 10 races of the original 2020 calendar were either cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing F1 to reschedule as many races as possible in the second half of the year.
The published dates only represent the first eight European rounds -- taking place in six venues over 10 weekends -- with F1 hoping to announce further races in Asia and the Americas in the coming weeks to establish a calendar of 15 to 18 races.
The sport said it "currently expects" the opening races will be closed to fans, but that it would welcome spectators back to circuits when it is safe to do so.
In order to cram as many races as possible into the calendar, two consecutive races will take place at the same circuit at both Red Bull Ring and Silverstone -- a first for F1. To differentiate the rounds at the same track, the second Austria race will be called the Steiermark Grand Prix and the second Silverstone race will be called the Formula One 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, in recognition of the sport's first race at the same circuit in 1950.
Opening F1 calendar:
July 3-5: Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull Ring, Austria
July 10-12: Steiermark Grand Prix, Red Bull Ring, Austria
July 17-19: Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring, Hungary
July 31-Aug. 2: British Grand Prix, Silverstone, Great Britain
Aug. 7-9: Formula One 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Silverstone, Great Britain
Aug. 14-16: Spanish Grand Prix, Circuit de Catalunya, Spain
Aug. 28-30: Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Sept. 4-6: Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy
F1 CEO Chase Carey said in a news release: "In the past weeks we have been working tirelessly with all our partners, the FIA and the teams to create a revised opening 2020 calendar allowing us to restart racing in the safest possible way. We are pleased to be able to set out our opening eight race calendar today and look forward to publishing our full calendar in the coming weeks.
"I want to thank every promoter and partner for their support and ongoing commitment to Formula One. While we currently expect the season to commence without fans at our races we hope that over the coming months the situation will allow us to welcome them back once it is safe to do, but we know the return of Formula One will be a welcome boost to sports fans around the world."
As part of F1's plans to return to racing, teams will be limited to 80 personnel each and kept apart from each other at the circuit to limit the possibility of coronavirus transmission. Paddock staff will be tested for the virus before leaving for races and tested regularly on arrival. In order to limit contact with the public, they are due to be flown on chartered jets as well as staying in block-booked hotels within driving distance of the circuit.
Marshals, who are crucial to the running of races, will also be work and operate in small groups in order to minimise the chances of transmission of the virus.
Although the rest of the calendar is due to be announced in the coming weeks, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi have already been scheduled as the final two events on the calendar. F1 is leaving open the possibility of making them doubleheaders in order to bolster the number of rounds, if necessary.
F1's two regular support series, Formula 2 and Formula 3, will also travel to the same eight events to get their seasons underway.