The seasons when F1 raced in the same country twice

Since 1950, there have been 39 Formula 1 seasons which have featured multiple Grands Prix in the same country. That number is set to become forty when racing resumes in 2020. We take a look back at those instances and how they came about.

The start of the 1957 Pescara Grand Prix

1957 – Italy

Due to financial disputes, both the Dutch and Belgian Grands Prix were cancelled in 1957. With the calendar therefore standing at only six races – plus the Indianapolis 500 – following the cancellation of those races, an additional race was added at the Pescara Circuit in Italy. The race was slotted in two weeks before the Italian Grand Prix and this was to be the first of only five occasions where Formula 1 visited the same country for two consecutive races. This would also be the only time that the Pescara Grand Prix was run as a World Championship event. The 16 mile circuit was the longest ever to feature on the F1 calendar, and its dangerous nature led to Enzo Ferrari refusing to send his drivers to race there.

1959 & 1960 – USA

There were two rounds of the Drivers’ Championship held in the United States in 1959 and 1960. The Indianapolis 500 – which was not run to Formula 1 regulations – was held in May each year, while a fully fledged F1 Grand Prix in the States was held for the first time in 1959. The first United States Grand Prix in World Championship history was held at Sebring International Raceway in December 1959, while the second was held at Riverside International Raceway in 1960. The Indianapolis 500 was no longer a round of the championship from 1961, but these two years would not be the only times that the United States hosted two races in a year…

1976-84 – USA

It would be sixteen years before there were two races held in the same country again, and once again it would be in the USA where multiple races took place. Between 1976 and 1980, two American races took place annually. The United States Grand Prix continued to be held at Watkins Glen towards the end of the year, while the United States Grand Prix West took place towards the start of each season at Long Beach. Watkins Glen fell off the calendar for 1981 and the United States Grand Prix was replaced with the Caesars Palace Grand Prix – a race around the car park of the famous Caesars Palace Casino.

In 1982, as well as the United States Grand Prix West and the Caesars Palace Grand Prix, the Detroit Grand Prix also joined the calendar, making this the only season in Formula 1 history which has featured three races in the same country. Caesars Palace was removed from the schedule in 1983 putting the number of races in America back to two. For 1984, Long Beach fell off the calendar, and instead Formula 1 headed to Dallas for the Dallas Grand Prix. It was the first and only time F1 visited Dallas – the extreme heat and a crumbling track meant that the sport was never inclined to return. 1984 was the last time that F1 hosted multiple races in the USA in a single year.

Michael Schumacher hunts down Fernando Alonso in the memorable 2005 San Marino Grand Prix

1981-2006 – Italy

In 1980, the Imola circuit replaced Monza as the host of the Italian Grand Prix while the latter circuit underwent renovations. The event was a success and Imola stayed on the calendar alongside Monza from 1981 onwards. Titled the San Marino Grand Prix, Imola saw its share of triumph and tragedy over the next 25 years – including a fateful weekend in 1994, when Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna lost their lives. The circuit was removed from the calendar for 2007 and Formula 1 has not returned since, making Monza the only Italian circuit on the schedule.

1982 – France

In 1982, as well as the USA hosting three races and Italy hosting two races, France also hosted two races. The 1982 French Grand Prix took place at Circuit Paul Ricard on the last weekend in July, while the Swiss Grand Prix took place at Dijon, also in France. Since 1975, the Swiss Grand Prix had taken place as a non-championship round at Dijon. Motor racing had been banned in Switzerland since the Le Mans disaster in 1955. In 1982, Dijon – which had hosted the French Grand Prix in the previous year – hosted the Swiss Grand Prix as a round of the World Championship, marking the first time that the Swiss Grand Prix had appeared on the calendar since 1984. It remains the most recent time that the event has been held.

1983 & 1985 – Britain

In 1983, Great Britain hosted two Formula 1 races in the same season. While the British Grand Prix took place at Silverstone, the European Grand Prix was held at Brands Hatch. The event was held with just nine weeks warning, and came about due to the late cancellation of a New York Grand Prix due to local protests. Brands Hatch would again host the European Grand Prix in 1985, alongside the British Grand Prix being held at Silverstone, but the race was replaced for 1986 by the Hungarian Grand Prix.

1984 & 1995–2006 – Germany

Nigel Mansell took the first victory of his Formula 1 career at the 1985 European Grand Prix, held at Brands Hatch (Jerry Lewis-Evans / CC BY-SA 2.0)

In 1984, Germany hosted two Formula 1 races in the same season for the first time. While the German Grand Prix took place at Hockenheim, the European Grand Prix was held at a newly renovated Nurburgring. This was the first time that F1 raced on the new circuit and not the legendary Nordschleife track. Brands Hatch had hosted the European event in 1983, but was unable to do so in the following year as it hosted the British Grand Prix. The new layout of the Nurburgring was initially unpopular with drivers, and Formula 1 would return for the German Grand Prix at the circuit in the following year. However, it would then be ten years before another race at the new Nurburgring, when the European Grand Prix was once again held at the track in 1995. For 1997 and 1998, the race at the Nurburgring was re-titled the Luxembourg Grand Prix.

With Hockenheim remaining as the host of the German Grand Prix, Germany continued to host two rounds of the championship until 2006. From 2008, the two circuits began to alternate as host of the German Grand Prix on an annual basis.

1993 – Britain

In 1993, plans to host an Asian Grand Prix fell through and Donington Park was called upon to host the first European Grand Prix in eight years. With the British Grand Prix firmly established at Silverstone, this was to be the final time until 2020 that two races would be held in Great Britain in a single season. Donington’s only Formula 1 race would turn out to be a thriller, with Ayrton Senna winning in wet conditions.

1994 & 1995 – Japan

In 1994, the Pacific Grand Prix was held for the first time at the TI Circuit in Aida, Japan. It was held as the second round of the season, while Suzuka would host the Japanese Grand Prix as the penultimate round. The Pacific Grand Prix was set to be held in a similar slot for 1995, but the damaging Great Hanshin earthquake meant that the race was postponed until October. The postponement meant that the race immediately preceded the Japanese Grand Prix, making this the second – and most recent – time that two consecutive races have been held in the same country during a season. Michael Schumacher was crowned World Champion as a result of the 1995 event, and F1 would not make a return to the track in 1996.

1994 & 1997 – Spain

In both 1994 and 1997, Formula 1 visited Spain twice – for the Spanish Grand Prix at Catalunya and for the European Grand Prix at Jerez. Jerez had previously hosted the Spanish Grand Prix between 1986 and 1990, but returned four years later for the European Grand Prix. The circuit returned due to the cancellation of the 1994 Argentine Grand Prix. The Buenos Aires track was undergoing renovations, which would not be complete in time for a Grand Prix in October that year. Instead, Jerez hosted the fourteenth round of the season.

The Valencia Street Circuit in a sorry state years after the last European Grand Prix was held here (GiusLipariPA / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Similarly, in 1997, the circuit stepped in to host the European Grand Prix as a replacement for the Portuguese Grand Prix, with Estoril facing financial difficulties. That year, Jerez was the last race of the year and hosted a dramatic title decider between Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve. Schumacher was disqualified from the entire 1997 championship as a result of a collision with his title rival, while Mika Hakkinen took his first Grand Prix victory.

2008-12 – Spain

The most recent time that a country has hosted two Formula 1 races in a single season was in 2012, when two Grands Prix took place once again in Spain. The Catalunya circuit continued to host the Spanish Grand Prix, while Valencia Street Circuit joined the calendar in 2008 as host of the European Grand Prix. It was planned that, from 2013, Catalunya and Valencia would alternate as host of the Spanish Grand Prix, but the deal fell through and the Valencia circuit has since fallen into disuse and disrepair.

2020 – Austria & Britain

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the schedule for the opening half of the 2020 Formula 1 season was decimated. In order to boost the number of races, the sport will race at the same venue twice on consecutive weekends – the first time that this has happened in F1 history. The season will begin with back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring in Austria – titled the Austrian Grand Prix and Steiermark Grand Prix – before Silverstone hosts two British races in August – titled the British Grand Prix and the F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. It is also possible that other circuits such as Monza and Bahrain International Circuit will host multiple races later in the season.

Header image: Martin Lee, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

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