Next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will mark the final chapter of a crazy 2020 season, a year that threw the sport – as well as the world – into turmoil for reasons that extend way beyond the realm of competition and entertainment.
As the world grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic, the sport, like most other businesses, ground to a halt for the best part of four months. The engines went quiet, the garages shut: Formula One forgot about cars and played its part in tackling the sanitary emergency as people did sacrifices for the common good.
In this landscape, as the world emerged from the first lockdowns in early summer, the sport got back to action. Back in July, as we assembled in Spielberg for the Austrian Grand Prix, we didn’t know how many races we would be able to compete in. Among the nose swabs, the novelty of facemasks and the restrictions on mingling that swept the paddock, few would have anticipated that the final calendar would feature 17 races: to pull that off is testament to the efforts and planning of the FIA and Formula One, with the co-operation of the competing teams to allow the sport to race.
And race we did. It was an incredible season, peppered with unexpected results, thrilling races, and heart-stopping moments. We punched the air in triumph, we slammed doors in anger as we criss-crossed Europe and beyond in five and a half months of crazy, intense racing.
The on-track results for us may have not been what we were expecting at the start of the season, but we were there. We will regroup, improve and come back stronger for 2021. A final chapter still awaits to be written: we will aim to finish the season well before a little bit of deserved rest… and before we start going again next year.
Back in pre-season testing, seemingly a lifetime ago, in Barcelona, nobody would have thought the season would end up being like this. It did – we were there, and this was our story.