Super Formula shortens races, scraps pitstops in 2020
Super Formula is shortening its race lengths for the 2020 season and abandoning compulsory pitstops due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Japan's premier single-seater championship put its season on hold following its March pre-season test at Fuji Speedway owing to the COVID-19 crisis, but is set to finally hold its opening round of the season at Twin Ring Motegi on August 29-30.
On Friday, a schedule outline for the Motegi event was released, with Super Formula following SUPER GT's lead in holding both qualifying and the race on Sunday.
Until now, the series had been using a three-day format with practice on Friday, but instead all practice sessions will be held on Saturday (with exact timings to be determined) prior to a one-hour qualifying session at 10am local time on Sunday morning.
The race will be held at 2.15pm, with a reduced distance of 35 laps (168km), compared to the 51 laps (245km) over which last year's Motegi race was held.
Motorsport.com understands that drivers will be expected to complete the race on a single set of tyres and without refuelling, allowing teams to reduce the number of personnel they need to bring to each race weekend.
However, pitstops can still be made for strategic reasons or in case of trouble.
Unlike SUPER GT, Super Formula is planning to welcome spectators from the get-go this year, but fans will not be able to access the paddock and there will be no pit walk.
Motegi is also set to play host to the first round of the rebranded Super Formula Lights series, with qualifying and the first race taking place on Saturday and two more races being held on Sunday. TCR Japan will also be holding its second round of the season.
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