Dubai: The promoters and organisers of the annual F1 powerboating series have decided to call off the 2020 season due to growing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
H2O Racing, the promoter and organiser of the UIM F1H2O World Championship for more than three decades now, announced recently that they have taken the tough decision to stay away from racing during the season in an attempt to help contain and take precautions against the spread of the pandemic.
“The decision to cancel all races has been taken in agreement with all concerned local authorities and organisers,” a statement from Nicolo di San Germano, Founder, H2O Racing, said.
“We are working with our partners across the different countries and we will be ready to start safely at the beginning of next year,” the statement added.
San Germano had indicated earlier during the season that H2O Racing would be in favour of a subdued calendar during 2020 that could still see Sharjah playing host to the season finale with the ambitious Sharjah Grand Prix and Water Festival.
In fact, the organiser had coordinated with the world governing body for watersport to put together an ‘anti-contagion safety protocol’ recently wherein F1 powerboat racing could commence at select, chosen destinations during 2020.
San Germano had further gone on to reassure drivers, local organisers and fans that they are fully prepared for a restart of races while incorporating important changes in the organisation of events.
H2O Racing had scheduled an eight-race calendar for 2020 that would have started in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in the second half of March before heading off to Europe for two rounds — Algarve in Portugal (May 8-10) and possibly Evian in France (June).
Then the teams would move off to China for three successive rounds from September to November before the penultimate race in India at the end of November followed by the final round in Sharjah from December 16-19.
“It’s been a season of uncertainty and we have tried our best to bring back powerboat racing,” San Germano noted.
“However, we know that it has been a tough task in sorting out everything under the new norms that humankind has endured for the past few months. We will return stronger in 2021.”
Meanwhile, the new season will see the official testing of the new 360 APX engines by manufacturers, Mercury Racing.
The 360 APX has been designed specifically to power F1 tunnel boats in the UIM F1H2O World Championship. The 4.6-litre engines with a V8 powerhead are tuned to deliver enhanced torque from a durable four-stroke while setting a new benchmark for circuit racing. And to align with the sustainability initiatives put in place by the UIM and other organisations, the new engines offer 90 per cent lower exhaust emissions compared to the current two-stroke racing engines.