The opening two rounds of the 2020 MotoGP calendar will not take place due to the worsening coronavirus outbreak, but it’s all systems go for Formula 1 and other major motorsport events…at this stage. Here’s your global motorsport agenda for March 2020.
March 6-8: Qatar MotoGP
The first major motorsport event in March was set to be the 2020 Qatar GP, but the opening round of the 2020 MotoGP season has now been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and associated travel bans. With travellers from Italy (and other affected countries) being forced to enter quarantine in Qatar for a minimum of 14 days, there was no possibility for the riders and teams to participate in this weekend’s racing. The Moto2 and Moto3 events will still take place this weekend at Losail International Circuit, as the riders and teams were already in Qatar for pre-season testing. Read more here.
The Qatar GP has been the opening race of the season since 2007, and became the series’ first night race in the following year. Andrea Dovizioso has won the event in each of the last two seasons. Marc Márquez starts the season in search of his fifth consecutive championship crown, which would be his seventh overall.
March 12-15: Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix
The cars are launched, testing is complete and the stage is set. The 2020 Australian Grand Prix at the Melbourne Grand Prix circuit will take place this year despite the worsening coronavirus situation, according to a statement today from Andrew Westacott, CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation: “We are all systems go and gearing up for the 25th Formula 1® race in Melbourne next week,” Westacott said. “The finishing touches are being put on the circuit, Formula 1® freight and personnel are arriving in the coming days and we’re looking forward to opening the gates to the public on Thursday 12 March.”
Albert Park may not be know for overtaking, but Lewis Hamilton has taken pole here in all of the last six seasons and only won once. The signs from pre-season testing point to another strong year for Mercedes – but we won’t know the true competitive order until the first meaningful running in Melbourne. Who’ll be leading the way at the start of Formula 1’s 71st season?
March 18-21: Super Sebring
The World Endurance Championship visits Sebring International Raceway for the sixth round of the 2019-20 season. This is the series’ second visit to Sebring, with the 1000 Miles of Sebring making its debut last year. Sébastien Buemi, Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima led Toyota Gazoo Racing to victory here last season. The race takes place on the same weekend as the IMSA 12 Hours of Sebring, which has been one of the circuit’s flagship events since 1950. This year, the WEC race will take place on Friday, with the IMSA event taking place on Saturday.
March 20-22: Thai MotoGP
The second round of the 2020 MotoGP championship has been postponed and will not take place on March 20-22. According to an official statement from Dorna and the FIM, the decision was taken after the Thai government communicated that it wouldn’t the race on its original date. “The FIM, IRTA and Dorna are currently evaluating if an alternative date is possible for the event later this season.” The 2020 Thai MotoGP event was scheduled to take place at Chang International Circuit in Buriram for the third time this season, and was moved from a late-season calendar slot in 2018 and 2019 to March this year. Marc Márquez has won both previous runnings of the event with Honda.
March 20-22: Bahrain Grand Prix
The second race of the 2020 Formula 1 season takes place under lights as the teams and drivers head to the Bahrain International Circuit for the Bahrain Grand Prix. There has been plenty of action at the Sakhir circuit in recent seasons – will the 2020 event deliver a great race once again?
Joining Formula 1 in Bahrain are Formula 2 and Formula 3, with the 2020 championships getting underway at the Bahrain International Circuit. While this will be the fourth consecutive season that the Formula 2 championship has begun in Bahrain, it is the first time that Formula 3 (formerly GP3) has visited Sakhir since 2014, when it was a support race at the 6 Hours of Bahrain. Among the top stars to watch in F2 this season are Mick Schumacher, Guanyu Zhou and last year’s F3 champion Robert Shwartzman.
March 28-29: BTCC Donington
The 63rd British Touring Car Championship gets underway this month at Donington. It’s the first time that the BTCC season has begun at Donington in fifteen years. Among the changes for 2020: Goodyear becomes the series’ tyre supplier, there’s a new qualifying system and Mini Challenge replaces the Renault Clio Cup on the support package.
March 29: F1 Joburg Festival
At the end of the month, Formula 1 will return to South Africa with the first of this year’s F1 Fan Festivals taking place in Johannesburg. Mercedes, Red Bull and Renault will all be in attendance, with Valtteri Bottas, David Coulthard and South African World Champion Jody Scheckter on hand to tear through the streets of Sandton. More information can be found here.
Which events are you most looking forward to this month? Leave a comment below!