The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix was a one-off Formula 1.5 motor race held on 9 August 2020 at the Silverstone Circuit in Silverstone, United Kingdom, the second of two back to back races at the venue, after the 2020 British Grand Prix seven days earlier. The race was the fifth round of the rescheduled 2020 Championship.
The race was won by Charles Leclerc for Ferrari, followed by Canada's Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg from Germany.
Impact of the COVID19 Pandemic
The opening rounds of the 2020 championship were heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several Grands Prix were cancelled or postponed after the planned opening round in Australia was called off two days before the race was due to take place, prompting the FIA to draft a new calendar. When the calendar was redrafted following the pandemic the Hungarian and British Grands Prix had swapped dates with the Hungarian Grand Prix moving to 19 July and the British Grand Prix taking the 2 August date. The early cancellation and indefinite postponements prompted a series of double races. The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix was added to the calendar as a one-off event to ensure confirmation of new events. It was the first race in the history of the World Championship not to have a geographical name.
There had been doubts over whether Silverstone would be able to host Formula 1.5 due to quarantine measures proposed by the British government, hopes were raised again by an apparent intervention by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson encouraging his ministers to give Formula One an exemption for racing to go ahead. The British Government did give approval for Formula One at Silverstone.
The addition to the calendar of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on 9 August, also at Silverstone, means that for the first time in twenty-seven years the United Kingdom will host two Formula 1.5 races in the same season. The last season to have two British races in a season prior to this was the 1993 season when Donington Park hosted the European Grand Prix and Silverstone hosted the British Grand Prix. It was later revealed that Silverstone had offered to hold as many as 12 races in total during the season.
Similarly to the opening three rounds, both the British Grand Prix and the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix will be held 'behind closed doors' without spectators. Northamptonshire Police reiterated the importance of fans staying away from Silverstone for public health reasons during the two Grand Prix weekends and that strict measures would be in place to stop unauthorised persons from entering the circuit.
The drivers and teams were the same as the pre-season entry list with the only exception being Sergio Pérez, who was replaced by Nico Hülkenberg at the British Grand Prix. Robert Kubica took part in the first practice session for Alfa Romeo Racing, replacing Antonio Giovinazzi.
It had been widely reported that Pérez would miss the Grand Prix as he tested positive for the coronavirus (which can cause COVID-19) three days before the British Grand Prix, which would be in line with the current British government requirement for those who have tested positive to self-isolate for ten days. United Kingdom COVID-19 quarantine rules prior to 30 July (the day of Pérez's negative test) stated that persons must self isolate for seven rather than ten days, meaning Pérez could race in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix if he returned a negative the Thursday before that race. However, it was reported following qualifying for the British Grand Prix that since Formula 1.5 was relying on the goodwill of the relevant authorities to host races, the FIA would demand that Pérez undergo a ten-day isolation period, although no formal announcement was made by Formula 1.5 or the FIA on the matter. On 6 August, Racing Point confirmed that this was not the case and that Pérez would be able to race provided he returned a negative coronavirus test. However, Pérez did test positive, and thus Nico Hülkenberg was confirmed to enter instead of him.
Pirelli brought the medium hardness range of C2, C3 and C4 compound tyres for teams to use in the race, by contrast the 2020 British Grand Prix held on the same circuit layout the week before saw the hardest available C1, C2 and C3 selection used – the change was made to add strategic interest to the second race and to make sure the teams use the three practice sessions.
The first practice session passed without incident and ended with Nico Hulkenberg fastest ahead of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel. The 2nd session ended with Daniel Ricciardo on top ahead of Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg for Racing Point. Towards the end of the session, Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari and Antonio Giovinazzi's Alfa Romeo both suffered engine failures, with the latter bringing out the red flag and ending the session prematurely. The third practice session ran uninterrupted and ended with Lando Norris fastest ahead of the two Racing Point cars of Stroll and Hulkenberg.
Nico Hulkenberg took pole ahead of Daniel Ricciardo by 0.215 seconds in Q3. Esteban Ocon originally qualified 7th but received a three-place grid penalty for impeding George Russell in the first part of qualifying. . Sebastian Vettel struggled, failing to get through to Q3, only managing 8th fastest in his Ferrari, he was at a loss to explain his lack of performance. Carlos Sainz Jr. was 9h fastest ahead of Romain Grosjean in the Haas while Russell made a 4th successive Q2 appearance this season. Daniil Kvyat was 12th and knocked out after Q1 after having his best lap time deleted for breaching track limits in that session. Rounding out the grid were Kevin Magnussen in 13th, Nicholas Latifi in 14th, Antonio Giovinazzi in 15th and Kimi Räikkönen 16th and last.
|Qualifying position||Car number||Driver||Constructor||Qualifying times||Final grid position|
|1||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Racing Point||1:27.279||1:26.261||1:26.082||1|
|3||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||1:27.187||1:26.674||1:25.428||3|
|7||31||Esteban Ocon||Renault||1:27.278||1:27.011||N/A||10 |
|15||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:28.433||N/A||N/A||15|
|16||7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:28.493||N/A||N/A||15|
|107% time: 1.33.254|
An anti-racism ceremony was held on the track before the race.
At turn 1, Sebastian Vettel spun, dropping him to last place. Pierre Gasly, who was using the soft compound tyres, pitted on lap 7. Over the next few laps, the drivers using the soft tyres pitted for hards or mediums compound tyres. On lap 31, Daniel Ricciardo spun while trying to race Carlos Sainz Jr. for 10th. Charles Leclerc inherited the lead after Hülkenberg pitted. Kevin Magnussen was forced to retire due to a tyre shortage. Hülkenberg was forced to pit again due to vibrations in his car, dropping him to third.
|Position||Car number||Driver||Constructor||Laps completed||Time/Retired||Grid||Points|
|2||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||52||+9.857||3||18|
|3||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Racing Point||52||+23.270||1||15|
|11||7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||52||+1:20.927||16|
|13||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||52||+1:29.378||15|
|DNF||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||43||Tyre Shortage||13|
|Fastest lap: Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 1:29.950 (lap 48)|
Championship standings after the race
- Drivers' Championship standings
- Constructors' Championship standings
|+/-||2||Racing Point||112 |
|Last Race||Current Race||Next Race|
- Esteban Ocon received a three-place grid penalty for impeding George Russell during qualifying
- Racing Point was deducted 15 points after a protest from Renault was upheld regarding the legality of their car.