| 5:42 PM EST

Formula One Drops Three More Races

8 races finalized, plans for 7 more by year-end
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Formula One racing has scrubbed another three events from this year’s season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 had been scheduled to begin March 15 in Australia, but that event was abruptly canceled. Soon, others were scrapped or postponed for Bahrain, Vietnam, Canada, China, France, the Netherlands and Monaco.

 Image: Formula One

Earlier today, F1 announced that upcoming or already postponed races in Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan also have been dropped.

First 8 Races Confirmed

F1 so far has confirmed eight races for the 2020 season. The series hopes to stage at least seven more contests by the time the series ends in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 29. The season originally was set for a record-high 22 races.

Still uncertain are contests originally scheduled for Russia (Sept. 27), the U.S. (Oct. 25), Mexico (Nov. 1) and Brazil (Nov. 15).

Details about the second half of the series won’t be finalized and announced until next month. For now, F1 says the season will kick off on July 5 in Austria. The same track will hold the next race one week later.

Subsequent confirmed rounds will be in Hungary (July 19), the U.K. (Aug. 2 and Aug. 9), Spain (Aug. 16), Belgium (Aug. 30) and Italy (Sept. 6).

Smaller Teams, No Guests, No Fans

None of the first eight races will be open to spectators, guests or sponsors. Only “essential” personnel will be allowed within the circuit. The number of on-site team members will be cut by roughly two-thirds. The size of broadcast staffs will be slashed 75%, and portions of television coverage will be handled remotely.

F1 says all participants and attendees must be tested for COVID-19 and cleared before they travel to a race. F1 will encourage that personnel fly to each venue by charter where possible and use private transportation to travel between hotels and airports.

Each onsite team will be sequestered and banned from interacting with members of other teams. Pre- and post-race activities, including podium ceremonies, will be altered to maintain social distancing, according to promoters.