Silverstone will host back-to-back grands prix on August 2 and 9 when Formula One returns with an eight-race European calendar starting next month.

The FIA has approved plans for the 2020 campaign to begin at Austria’s Red Bull Ring in Spielberg with successive races on July 5 and 12 before the Hungarian Grand Prix takes place on July 19.

Teams will then head to Silverstone for two races – dubbed the British Grand Prix and the Formula One 70th Anniversary Grand Prix respectively – before further events in Spain on August 16, Belgium on August 30 and Italy on September 6.

All races are expected to be staged behind closed doors with a minimum number of team personnel at the circuit as part of plans to create as safe an environment as possible for all those taking part.

  • Austrian Grand Prix (Red Bull Ring, July 3-5)
  • Steiermark Grand Prix (Red Bull Ring, July 10-12)
  • Hungarian Grand Prix (Hungaroring, July 17-19)
  • British Grand Prix (Silverstone, July 31 - August 2)
  • 70th Anniversary Grand Prix (Silverstone, August 7-9)
  • Spanish Grand Prix (Circuit de Barcelona, August 14-16)
  • Belgian Grand Prix (Spa, August 28-30)
  • Italian Grand Prix (Monza, September 4-6)

Participants will also be required to travel on charter flights, social distance as much as possible, and undergo regular testing.

Eight races is the minimum number required to determine a world champion under the sport’s regulations, but F1’s owners Liberty Media hope this is just the beginning as it looks to announce further races in Asia and the Americas, with the goal of staging up to 18 grands prix this year.

A statement said: “Formula 1 has been working closely with all partners, authorities, the FIA and the ten teams to create a revised calendar that will allow a return to racing in a way that is safe for the communities we visit and the entire Formula 1 community.

“Due to the ongoing fluidity of the COVID-19 situation internationally, we will be finalising the details of the wider calendar and hope to publish that in the coming weeks with an expectation of having a total of 15-18 races before we complete our season in December.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton will not have any fans to cheer him on at Silverstone this year
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton will not have any fans to cheer him on at Silverstone this year (Martin Rickett/PA)

“We currently expect the opening races to be closed events, but hope fans will be able to join our events again when it is safe to do so.

“The health and safety of all involved will continue to be priority number one, with Formula 1 and the FIA having a robust and detailed plan to ensure our races maintain the highest level of safety with strict procedures in place.”

There had been question marks over Silverstone’s place on the calendar due to concerns over a quarantine programme due to be introduced by the Government, impacting travellers arriving into the UK from June 8.

However, elite sports events are set to be exempt from the quarantine period, enabling racing to go ahead at the Northamptonshire circuit.

A statement from the circuit said: “We are delighted to share this announcement confirming two consecutive Grand Prix’s are to take place at Silverstone.

“Although these will be closed events we are confident that our legendary circuit will provide the perfect setting for a great show for everyone watching at home.”

Formula One chairman Chase Carey said: “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 1.

Formula One chairman Chase Carey
Formula One chairman Chase Carey (David Davies/PA)

“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 1 will be a welcome boost to sports fans around the world.”

Drivers and teams welcomed the calendar’s announcement, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen saying on Twitter: “Counting down to the start of the 2020 F1 season . Only 33 days left to the first race .”

Williams driver George Russell reacted on Twitter by posting: “LETTTSSS GOOO!!!”

Red Bull may have their base in Milton Keynes but given their Austrian ownership they consider the Spielberg circuit which bears their sponsor’s name to be their home, and team principal Christian Horner said it would be special to begin the season there.

“Red Bull have pulled out all the stops to get the Austrian Grand Prix up and running, in order to support a safe start to the Formula One season,” Horner said.

“It’s a fantastic venue and we are pleased to be starting our championship campaign at our home circuit. It has been a huge effort by all involved and the two events at the Red Bull Ring will be a blueprint for all other races to follow.

“There was obviously a huge amount of discussion behind the scenes with Liberty, the FIA and the local authorities to ensure that returning to racing is done responsibly and we all have our part to play in order to enforce the measures in place.

“With the first eight races of the calendar now confirmed we have some positive momentum. As a race team and racers, we are excited to get going again and put on a show for our fans.”