The 2020 Eifel Grand Prix, officially known as the Formula 1 Aramco Grosser Preis Der Eifel 2020, was the eleventh race of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Nürburgring in Nürburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on 11 October 2020. The race was the first to be held on the GP-Strecke at the Nürburgring since 2013, named the Eifel Grand Prix instead of the German Grand Prix.
Heavy rain on Friday led to the first two free practice sessions being canceled. Valtteri Bottas took pole position and managed to hold onto the lead at the start, but he then locked up and allowed team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pass before retiring with an engine-related issue. Hamilton led until the end of the race and took his 91st race win, equaling Michael Schumacher's all-time record. Max Verstappen finished second while setting the fastest lap with Renault's Daniel Ricciardo completing the podium, his first since the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix. Nico Hülkenberg, making his third weekend appearance of 2020 and was replacing an unwell Lance Stroll drove from 20th and last to finish in 8th place.
Formula One made its return to the Nürburgring as part of a heavily revised 2020 campaign, as the Covid-19 Pandemic had caused the original schedule to be abandoned. Racing on the GP-Strecke for the first time since 2013, the Nürburgring would play host to the Eifel Grand Prix rather than the German Grand Prix, which was under the authority of the Hockenheimring. The 2020 Eifel Grand Prix would hence be the first, and most likely only rendition, of the new event, announced on 24 July 2020 alongside the restoration of the Portuguese Grand Prix, planned to run at the Algarve International Circuit. as well as the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
Ahead of the Eifel Grand Prix Formula One Management announced that the event would be livestreamed on YouTube in select European countries, which would include both qualifying and the race. The move, which saw F1 sign a deal to partner with YouTube for the event, came as a test of how F1 could livestream future rounds, amid declining viewer numbers on conventional viewing platforms such as television. However, there would be heavy restrictions on where the stream would be available, with only Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark granted access.
A Ferrari Shootout
Elsewhere, Ferrari announced their plans to run three of their Driver Academy drivers in Free Practice, two of whom would get their first FP1 run outs at the Eifel Grand Prix with Ferrari's customer teams. Those two would be Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott, the lead drivers in the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2020, with Schumacher getting a run with Alfa Romeo, while Ilott made his FP1 debut with Haas. The third FDA man on the list, Robert Shwartzman, would have to wait until the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to get his first FP1 run, although all three would try a 2018-spec Ferrari SF71H at Ferrari's Fiorano test track on 30 September.
Departure of Honda
In the build-up to the race there was a surprise announcement from Honda on 2 October that they would be withdrawing from F1 at the end of the 2021 season. The press release cited a desire from Honda to increase their "environmental initiatives" as the main reason for withdrawing from F1, with the Japanese manufacturer instead wishing to increase their fuel cell and electric powertrain research and development activities. Their impeding withdrawal hence left Red Bull and AlphaTauri seeking a new powertrain supplier for the 2022 season, with the remaining engine suppliers Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault reluctant, or unable, to supply the two Austrian funded teams at the time of Honda's withdrawal.
The full entry list for the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix are outlined below:
|3||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-Honda||1||1:26.319||2||1:25.467||3||1:25.562||3|
|5||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull-Honda||11||1:27.126||6||1:26.285||5||1:26.047||5|
|9||11||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point-BWT Mercedes||10||1:27.120||8||1:26.330||9||1:26.704||9|
|10||55||Carlos Sainz, Jr.||McLaren-Honda||14||1:27.378||9||1:26.361||10||1:26.709||10|
|14||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||15||1:27.532||14||1:26.936||14|
|19||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||19||1:27.817||19|
|20||27||Nico Hülkenberg||Racing Point-BWT Mercedes||20||1:28.021||20|
|107% Time: 1:32.361|
- Bold indicates the fastest driver's time in each session.
|______________||Carlos Sainz, Jr.|
The full results for the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix are outlined below:
- * Albon received a 5-second penalty after a collision with Kvyat.
- † Stroll had withdrawn as he was sick during the third practice session. He later revealed that he was tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after withdrawing from the weekend .
- Valtteri Bottas' 14th pole and 150th race start.
- Lewis Hamilton's 91st race victory, equaling Michael Schumacher's record of the most number of wins.
- Daniel Ricciardo's 30th podium finish.
- Renault's first podium since the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix.
- Kimi Räikkönen's 323rd race start.
Images and Videos:
- 'Formula 1 adds Portimao, Nurburgring and 2-day event in Imola to 2020 race calendar', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Limited, 24/07/2020), https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.breaking-formula-1-adds-portimao-nurburgring-and-2-day-event-in-imola-to.CGyDtalz9hBwCojE2QGCI.html, (Accessed 29/09/2020)
- 'Formula 1 partners with YouTube to livestream the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Limited, 31/07/2020), https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.formula-1-partners-with-youtube-to-livestream-the-2020-eifel-grand-prix.2rcp4On6qzmgmsxum7D7mW.html, (Accessed 29/09/2020)
- 'ILOTT, SCHUMACHER AND SHWARTZMAN TO MAKE GRAND PRIX WEEKEND DEBUT', ferrari.com, (Ferrari S.p.A. 29/09/2020), https://www.ferrari.com/en-EN/fda/articles/ilott-schumacher-and-shwartzman-to-make-grand-prix-weekend-debut?fbclid=IwAR3LDfjzgI-G1YwuSuatzypmm-LQ85VHXItJBw6Z0u4hT2aCE_ZKNA40EV4, (Accessed 29/09/2020)
- 'Honda to Conclude Participation in FIA Formula One World Championship', global.honda, (Honda Motor Co. Ltd., 02/10/2020), https://global.honda/newsroom/news/2020/c201002aeng.html, (Accessed 02/10/2020)
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- ' ', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Limited, 2020), , (Accessed 05/07/2020)
- Motorsport.com: Recovered Stroll tested COVID-19 positive after Eifel GP. Retrieved from https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/stroll-covid-positive-eifel-gp/4895018/
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