Formula One has confirmed three more European races after abandoning its American swing of the 2020 calendar, with four races in Texas, Mexico, Brazil and Canada all cancelled.
The move comes with coronavirus infection rates in the United States, Mexico and Brazil among the highest in the world.
F1’s decision to axe the races clears the way for the sport to return to Imola for the first time since 2006.
The San Marino venue, which is synonymous with the death of triple world champion Ayrton Senna in 1994, will stage its race on November 1. The grand prix will take place over just two days with no practice on Friday.
BREAKING: We're racing at Nurburgring, Portimao and Imola!— Formula 1 (@F1) July 24, 2020
The three Grands Prix will make up rounds 11-13 of the 2020 F1 calendar, with Imola being a two-day event#EifelGP #PortugueseGP #ImolaGP pic.twitter.com/Hxen8a45g1
The sport’s bosses have also confirmed that Portimao will host its first ever grand prix on October 25, with the Nurburgring returning to the calendar a fortnight earlier. The German track last staged a grand prix in 2013. The race in Portugal is set to be open to fans.
Chase Carey, Chairman and CEO of Formula 1, said: “We are pleased that we continue to make strong progress in finalising our plans for the 2020 season and are excited to welcome Nürburgring, Portimão and Imola to the revised calendar.
“We want to thank the promoters, the teams, and the FIA for their full support in our efforts to bring our fans exciting racing this season during an unprecedented time.
We also want to pay tribute to our incredible partners in the Americas and look forward to being back with them next season when they will once again be able to thrill millions of fans around the worldChase Carey
“We also want to pay tribute to our incredible partners in the Americas and look forward to being back with them next season when they will once again be able to thrill millions of fans around the world.”
The additional three rounds announced on Friday extends this season’s revised calendar to 13 races, with two grands prix at Silverstone (August 2 and August 9), and one in Spain (August 16) forming the next triple header.
There will also be rounds in Spa-Francorchamps (August 30), Monza (September 6), Mugello (September 13) and Russia on September 27.
There remains hope a maiden race in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi can be arranged for mid-November.
The campaign is set to end with three consecutive rounds in the Middle East – with Bahrain to host two races before the Abu Dhabi season closer in December.
Lewis Hamilton heads to his home race at Silverstone a week on Sunday with a five-point lead over Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the championship standings.