Its time to get back behind the wheel - the 2020 Formula One World Championship is officially go, go, go! Once the tyre smoke has cleared, 20 of the fastest cars in history will battle it out over 22 races in a bid to secure the 70th Drivers' and Constructors' titles.
At least, that's the plan. The 2020 F1 season is currently suspended until May due to... yep, you guessed it, the coronavirus outbreak.
McLaren pulled out of the first race in Melbourne when a member of their team tested positive for the virus, and world champion Lewis Hamilton called it "shocking" that the race was going ahead. Some 48 hours later, it wasn't. The FIA announced it was cancelling the Australian Grand Prix – just as fans from all over the world began arriving at the circuit.
Since then, the FIA has cancelled the Bahrain, Chinese and Vietnam Grands Prix. Assuming the pandemic eases off, F1's governing body says it hopes to re-start the season in May. Will the Dutch Grand Prix go ahead on 3rd May? Fingers crossed.
It's gutting news for F1 fans, but if the season does ever get the green light, we should be in for plenty of wheel-to-wheel action and team radio tantrums.
Last year, Mercedes picked up 15 wins, while Red Bull and Ferrari managed a paltry three each. This year, we could see Mercedes regularly outpaced for the first time since 2014. Now that Honda has upped its power game, even Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has tipped Red Bull to be a serious threat.
If so, that could pour yet more petrol on the explosive battle between Ferrari teammates Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. With rumours of retirement continuing to swirl around Vettel's side of the garage, Flying Dutchman Max Verstappen could capitalise on Ferrari's woes. The Champion-in-waiting has already warned that Red Bull "need to be competitive from the first race." Sounds like he's in no mood to conserve the tyres.
That first race will be the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 15th March. Keep a close eye on the re-tooled Renault team, who could have a hostile inter-team battle on their hands when new driver Esteban Ocon gets out on track with Aussie Daniel Ricciardo. Neither are known for backing down from a fight.
And what of McLaren? They could be the surprise package this year, having made stellar gains last season. Haas appear to be struggling again, but Romain Grosjean and K-Mag be keen to assert midfield dominance over the Alfa team.
Racing Point, owned by billionaire Lawrence Stroll, are targeting the Ferraris and could be a threat right from the first race, while Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat will be getting used to Toro Rosso's new name – AlphaTauri.
Meanwhile, Nicholas Latifi will be getting used to... everything. The rookie Canadian has graduated to F1 after three seasons in F2 but he's got a tough job on his hands: dragging a dire Williams team back up to the midfield.
Revved up for the start of the season? If you want to get your stream on and tune into the Australian Grand Prix, then here’s how you do it in engine-growling surround sound and 4K style.
Formula One F1 TV Pro season pass
Formula 1 itself offers an on-demand and live streaming service to race fans everywhere. Exactly what you get depends on what country you're in, so it may be a case of making sure you're signed up to a VPN if you're away from home.
Those in the US, for example, can sign up to a $79.99 F1 TV Pro season pass with live streams of every track session for all Grands Prix, access to all driver onboard cameras and team radios and live streams of F1, F2, F3 and Porsche Supercup races.
There's also on demand access to full race replays and highlights, the F1 onboard cameras, all F1, F2, F3 and Porsche Supercup replays and F1's historic race archive too - an excellent package for petrol heads.
Watch Formula One anywhere in the world using a VPN
We'll look at the TV and live stream options for UK and USA-based F1 fans below, but even after spending all that money on a subscription you're still not going to be able to watch the Grand Prix from another country.
There are certain territories where some or all of the races are free to air – so if you're away in Albania, Azerbaijan, Brazil, China, Russia, Slovenia, USA, the Middle East or North Africa, you may just need to tune in on your hotel TV or find a local bar.
Anywhere else and you might want to get yourself a VPN instead. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) can spoof an IP address which is local to the server you’d like to access. That way your service provider will think that you’re in the correct country to do so and allow you to watch the F1.
VPNs are also as useful for banking as they are at trying to watch video content or access websites that people in your location are not supposed to do. They encrypt the data passing between you and the server, so that the information remains private.
So, whether you want to watch live motorsport, enjoy another country’s Netflix library or just keep your browsing data private, then a VPN is well worth considering.
There are many VPN providers out there, with some more reliable and safe than others. As a rule, we’d suggest a paid-for service and would recommend the following:
You can get three months free when you sign up to a year-long plan, bringing VPN access to smart devices including the Amazon Fire TV Stick, laptops, TVs and both Android and iOS mobiles and tablets. Express also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Which comes in at as little as $2.99 (£2.29) per month and features 24/7 assistance
Once you’ve made your choice, all you need to do is sign in to your VPN service through whichever device you’d like to use to watch the race. When prompted to select a server, you need to pick one which is based in the country whose content you’d like to access. Then navigate to the relevant video streaming app or website and you’re in.
You can find a full list of the world's broadcasters with rights to show live Formula 1 here.
Watch Formula One live in the UK
Sky is the only place for UK viewers to watch the Formula One racing, practice and qualifying sessions all live in 4K resolution, on the company’s Ultra HD service. You’ll need to receive the Sky Sports F1 channel to enjoy all the coverage.
That comes bundled in with all the other sports channels as part of the £23 per month Sky Sports Complete Pack. If the F1 is all you care about, Sky is currently offering a deal to pay £10 (usually £18) per month instead to add just Sky Sports F1 to your contract.
If that all sounds a bit much, then anyone can enjoy the F1 using Sky's pay-per-view platform, Now TV. Now TV is available on all good smart TVs and set-top-boxes You can choose between a day, week or month-long pass and it’s worth keeping an eye on just how many races each one might scoop up at any one time in the F1 calendar.
Now TV Sports day passes from £8.99
A day pass for sports on Now TV costs £8.99, with a weekly pass coming in at £14.99 for those after qualifying as well. A monthly pass is £33.99 if you want to cover two or three races.View Deal
The Sky Sports F1 HD channel is also available on Virgin Media as part of the Bigger + Sport TV bundle. It's £72 per month but it comes with all the other Sky Sports channels and all the BT Sports ones too, including BT Sports Ultra HD. All of that brings access to just about every televised sports action you'd care to mention including Premier League, Champions League and Europa League football.
If you're already a Virgin Media TV subscriber, then it may be a case of upping your package by just a few pounds per month.
It’s not all a dead loss without Sky in the UK. Channel 4 has the rights for the highlights of the F1 race and the F1 qualifiers which air a few hours after the end of the sessions. It’s also licensed to show the British Grand Prix live and in full. You can tune into the coverage in HD on Channel 4 and on the Channel 4 website.
Watch Formula One live in 4K
To watch in Ultra HD, you’ll need a Sky Q 2TB set-top-box and as well as the Sky Experience multi-room subscription. That totals out at £55 per month, with a one off payment of £70 if you’re not already a Sky subscriber. It’s a fair whack but it’s the only way to watch the F1 live and in 4K.
Watch Formula One live in the USA
Formula 1 fans in the States are lucky enough to be able to watch the some of the top class motorsports action for free. ABC has the rights to air the US, Mexico and Canadian Grand Prix live, with the Monaco Grand Prix shown in full but after the event.
For complete, all-season access to F1, Americans will need to sign up to the EPSN paid channels or Univision for the Spanish language coverage.
Live 2020 Formula One race calendar
The Formula One season runs from March to December 2020 with 21 races currently confirmed (the Chinese Grand Prix is currently postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak). Below you'll find the dates for each of the Grand Prix on the 2020 Formula One calendar:
15th March – Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne (POSTPONED)
22nd March – Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir (POSTPONED)
5th April – Vietnamese Grand Prix, Hanoi (POSTPONED)
19th April – Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai (POSTPONED)
3rd May – Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort
10th May – Spanish Grand Prix, Catalunya
24th May – Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo
7th June – Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku
14th June – Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal
28th June – French Grand Prix, Le Castellet
5th July – Austrian Grand Prix, Spielberg
19th July – British Grand Prix, Silverstone
2nd August – Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest
30th August – Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps
6th September – Italian Grand Prix, Monza
20th September – Singapore Grand Prix
27th September – Russian Grand Prix, Sochi
11th October – Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka
25th October – United States Grand Prix, Austin
1st November – Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City
15th November – Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo
29th November – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina