There have been over 1,000 Formula 1 Grands Prix held since 1950 but there have been only a handful occasions where consecutive races have been held in the same country. We take a look back at the stories of those races.
The first time that Formula 1 hosted two consecutive races in the same country – and the first time that there were two Formula 1 races in the same country in one season – was in 1957. Italy was the destination for the final two rounds of the Drivers’ Championship that year. This was because both the Belgian and Dutch Grands Prix had been cancelled due to financial disputes. The first race in Italy for 1957 saw the drivers race at Pescara for the first and only time in the sport’s history. The Pescara circuit is the longest on which F1 has ever raced, at a whopping sixteen miles long. It was deemed so dangerous that Enzo Ferrari refused to send his drivers. Some of the drivers had never driven on the track before and, with little time to learn the circuit, the leaders qualified over 20 seconds faster than the backmarkers. One man who did have previous experience of the track was Stirling Moss, who won with three minutes to spare ahead of Juan Manuel Fangio. Moss even had time to stop for a drink during the race.
F1 then headed to Monza three weeks later for the season-closing Italian Grand Prix and it was a familiar result, with Moss once again finishing ahead of Fangio. Moss’ efforts in the latter stages of the 1957 Drivers’ Championship were fruitless, as Fangio had already wrapped the title up at the German Grand Prix back in August. This was the final time that Monza hosted the last race of a Formula 1 season.
It would be over twenty years before the next two consecutive races were held in the same country. This time, it happened in America. The United States Grand Prix was held at Watkins Glen for the final time at the end of the 1980. While Bruno Giacomelli took the only pole of his F1 career at this race, Alan Jones signed off from his title-winning season in style with victory. After a five month winter break, the sport was back in America for the opening round of 1981, with the United States Grand Prix West at Long Beach. Jones won this race too.
It should be noted that between these two races, the non-championship South African Grand Prix took place. This round was originally a round of the World Championship, but a dispute between the governing body FISA and the Formula One Constructors’ Association meant that the race did not hold championship status.
Until 2020, the USA was the only country which has hosted consecutive Formula 1 races twice. The second time it happened was during the 1984 season. Though the last Watkins Glen race at the end of 1980 was the last United States Grand Prix for nine years, the sport did not stop racing in the country, and did so under different race titles. Among them were the United States West Grand Prix, the Caesar’s Palace Grand Prix, the Detroit Grand Prix and the Dallas Grand Prix. In 1984, the latter two races were held back to back.
Nelson Piquet took victory in Detroit in a race which only six cars finished. Martin Brundle finished an impressive second for Tyrrell, but was later disqualified for making an illegal pit stop. Two weeks later, Formula 1 was in action in Dallas in what turned out to be the only Dallas Grand Prix ever held. In the searing heat, Keke Rosberg took the win – making this the only time until 2020 that two consecutive races in the same country did not have the same winner. Not only did the drivers have to contend with the heat, they also had to deal with a track that was crumbling up. It all proved too much for Nigel Mansell, who fainted while trying to push his car across the finish line.
The most recent time that two consecutive races have been held in the same country during a single season was in Japan in 1995. The Pacific Grand Prix had been scheduled to take place as the third round of the season in April, but the Great Hanshin earthquake brought damage to the circuit’s surrounding area and the event was pushed back by six months. When the event eventually happened in October, as the fifteenth round of the year, Michael Schumacher confirmed his status as a double World Champion by taking victory. Formula 1 stayed in Japan for the next round, as the teams and drivers headed to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix. Schumacher was victorious once again, and this was his last victory for Benetton before moving to Ferrari at the start of 1996.
Until 2020, the last time Formula 1 hosted two consecutive races in the same country was at the end of the 1995 – and start of the 1996 – season. Strangely, this pair of races immediately followed the 1995 Pacific and Japanese Grands Prix, both held in Japan. Adelaide hosted the season finale in 1995, and attracted a record crowd of 210,000 fans who were there to witness Formula 1’s farewell to the city. Damon Hill won the race by over two laps – one of only two times in F1 history that a Grand Prix has been won by such a margin. With the sport’s farewell to Adelaide and the 1995 season over, the circus returned to Australia four months later for the first race of 1996. It’s the only time in Formula 1 history that there have been two consecutive races with the same title. The Australian Grand Prix moved home to Albert Park in Melbourne for 1996, and Hill opened his title-winning campaign with another victory Down Under.
At the start of the 2020 season, the Red Bull Ring became the first circuit to host Formula 1 races at the same venue for two consecutive rounds of the championship. Both the Austrian and Styrian Grands Prix were held as the opening two races of the 2020 season. The season’s calendar was heavily disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, and kicked off on 5th July – the latest start to a Formula 1 season. Mercedes won both races, with Valtteri Bottas taking victory in the Austrian Grand Prix and Lewis Hamilton winning the Styrian Grand Prix.
In 2021, the Red Bull Ring will again host consecutive races in June and July.
Silverstone was the next circuit to host consecutive races in 2020, with the British Grand Prix on 2nd August and the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix being held on the following weekend. Both races served up their fair share of drama, with Lewis Hamilton crossing the line with a puncture in the British Grand Prix. The end of the race saw numerous drivers picking up tyre failures, and tyres would be a focal point in the following weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix too. Both Mercedes drivers struggled to keep their tyres in a workable condition, which allowed Max Verstappen to take victory for Red Bull.
Italy was the next country to host successive races in 2020, though unlike the races at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone, the two Italian rounds will take place at different venues. At the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, held at Monza, Pierre Gasly and AlphaTauri took an astonishing victory, in a race which featured a red flag and a penalty for Lewis Hamilton. The Monza race is followed by Formula 1’s first visit to Mugello for the Tuscan Grand Prix on 13th September.
Bahrain was the fourth and final country to host successive races in 2020. Though both the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Sakhir Grand Prix took place at the Bahrain International Circuit, the two races were held on different track layouts. The Bahrain Grand Prix was held on the usual layout of the circuit, the Sakhir Grand Prix took place on the Outer Circuit. The Bahrain Grand Prix was notable for Romain Grosjean’s horrifying crash on the opening lap, in which he was lucky to escape with only burns to his hands. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton was forced to miss the Sakhir Grand Prix due to testing positive for coronavirus. He was replaced by George Russell, who impressed on his Mercedes debut and could have taken the win, if not for a pit stop disaster for the team. Mercedes’ issues allowed Sergio Perez to claim his maiden Grand Prix victory.