When Will the 2020 F1 Season Start and Will My Bets Be Affected?

Yas Marina Circuit Empty Pit LaneLike most sports, the new Formula One season has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Proceedings in 2020 were supposed to get underway in traditional fashion at the Australian Grand Prix earlier in March, but that race was eventually cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The situation has forced F1 head honchos into addressing how the new season will play out, and the sport’s chairman – Chase Carey – has now announced a raft of changes.

The intended rule changes regarding car design and construction, set to be brought in for the 2021 season, have now been postponed until 2022 to allow manufacturers to recover financially.

Race weekends may be shortened from three days to just one day of testing/qualifying and then the race itself in order to streamline the campaign, and all of the teams have agreed to let F1 chiefs have full flexibility in arranging the schedule.

And they will need it too, with a number of race cancellations and postponements confirmed. The first six races of the season – in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam, China, the Netherlands and Spain – have all been postponed, while the 2020 Monaco Grand Prix has been cancelled entirely.

Race Date Country Track Status
15th March 2020 Australia Albert Park Circuit Postponed
22nd March 2020 Bahrain Bahrain International Circuit Postponed
5th April 2020 Vietnam Hanoi Street Circuit Postponed
19th April 2020 China Shanghai International Circuit Postponed
3rd May 2020 Netherlands Circuit Zandvoort Postponed
10th May 2020 Spain Circuit de Barcelona Postponed
24th May 2020 Monaco Circuit de Monaco Cancelled

New dates for the Dutch and Spanish dates will be sought, however it is becoming increasingly likely that races in Asia and the Southern Hemisphere will be reallocated this year.

F1 officials have revealed their hopes to get the campaign underway ‘as soon as possible after May’, although an idea to hold Grand Prix races behind closed doors has since been put on the shelf.

Betting Rules on Cancelled Events

Racetrack Start/Finish Line

The coronavirus has played havoc with the bookmakers, and the concept of open ante post bets is a topic that can confuse some punters.

For any bet to be settled, whether it’s an ante post wager or an in-play flutter, a result has to be confirmed as ‘official’ before a pay-out is made.

So, if you have bet on individual Formula One races this season, your bet will remain open until F1’s head honchos confirm that each individual Grand Prix won’t be contested this year.

The distinction is as follows: as we have found out, the Monaco Grand Prix has been cancelled, and so all bets placed on the French folly will have stakes refunded.

But for others – such as the Dutch and Spanish Grand Prix, which may still be hosted this year – ante post wagers will remain open until an official announcement is made.

Of course, some readers may have bet on Lewis Hamilton to win a seventh Drivers’ Championship – levelling the record set by the great Michael Schumacher.

Here’s the thing: according to the official Formula One rulebook, there needs to be eight races contested for it to be considered a World Championship season.

So, assuming the season starts in June – maybe kicking off with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on June 7, there would comfortably be at least eight races this year with double figures more likely, assuming the coronavirus spread can be contained effectively.

If you are holding a Lewis Hamilton coupon – or any other driver for that matter – then our advice is to sit tight and stay safe!

Can I Cancel My Bet Even if it Stands?

Refund Policy Stamp

In general, once you have placed a bet you are not able to cancel and it will run until an official result is available or that betting event has become void.

What we have for the individual races, and for the F1 season as a whole, is a bit of a grey area. Any refund given where a result could yet be obtained would squarely down to the discretion of your bookie.

That said, most betting operators would genuinely prefer you to have a run for your money so if you did want your F1 ante post bets returned to reinvest, they may well do so.