Words by Tony Robertson (@TonyRob84).
Welcome to another edition of Overtime Online’s Formula One column Life In The Fast Lane.
This week is the final Virtual Grand Prix before the full season gets underway. We’ve also had an update on some of the races which were postponed earlier this season, so lets get into it.
Bad news this week for anyone looking forward to new grand prix’s this week as three races have been cancelled this season.
Earlier this week Formula One confirmed that the Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan races will not be happening during the 2020 season.
A statement on the F1 website said: “These decisions have been taken due to the different challenges our promoters face in those countries. In Singapore and Azerbaijan the long lead times required to construct street circuits made hosting the events during a period of uncertainty impossible and in Japan, ongoing travel restrictions also led to the decision not to proceed with the race.”
This makes for four races in total which will definitely not be happening in 2020 with Monaco confirming earlier in the season no race would be happening there either.
However, some races which were not on the 2020 calendar are being considered in order to top up the amount of races in the season, including Hockenheim in Germany and Algarve in Portugal.
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 12, 2020
Ending in Canada:
The final Virtual Grand Prix took place this weekend with George Russell looking to make it four from four and take the Virtual Grand Prix title.
Normally when a competition is still tight going into the final event the excitement for it is tangible. However, without Charles Leclerc competing the race lost a huge amount of appeal as it would take a huge capitulation from Russell to not bag the title.
As a result this resulted in the series ending with bit of whimper. That being said it has managed to keep fans entertained throughout the lockdown period but with the return of the sport looming, drivers, fans and other stakeholders are turning their attention toward the race restart.
As you can probably guess Russell took yet another chequered flag and took home the Virtual Grand Prix championship with Williams also winning the Constructors championship.
In a repeat of their final year in F2 Russell ended up on pole with Alex Albon in second and Leclerc coming in third in the championship, though had he competed in the final race this may of ended differently.
In the race Russell started on poll with Albon completing the front row of the grid and Nicholas Latifi coming in behind his Williams teammate.
The quote of the race came from Albon’s team radio which effectively summed up the race came on lap 23 when Albon’s radio told him that Russell wanted to “slow down” to “give the fans a show.” If you needed a sentence to understand how underwhelming this race was then that was it.
Meanwhile Pierre Gasly was disqualified making him the first to be so out of all the drivers in the series.
The race ended with Russell taking the chequered flag, Albon in second and Esteban Gutierrez making it into third.
Mercedes engine chief set to leave team:
As I was writing this column I got a notification on my phone from the F1 app.
This turned out to be news about Andy Cowell, the man responsible for the Mercedes V6 hybrid engine which has dominated the sport for the last six seasons.
His announcement will come as a big blow to the team as he said he would be leaving the team in January.
Hywel Thomas will be given the reigns of managing director, taking over the direct responsibility for the F1 power unit, though Mr Cowell will “support the transition” for Mr Thomas to take over.
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 15, 2020
And with that this weeks column is just about concluded.
You can check out last weeks column here.
See you all next week!