There may never again be a start to a Formula 1 season that’s as unorthodox or chaotic as 2020’s offering. A false dawn in Australia all those months ago was certainly unprecedented.
Just over a quarter of a year later, the paddock has congregated once again for the real beginning of the season, undergoing thorough testing against the ongoing pandemic. And what unfolds on the track could yet surprise us again.
The first race of a season always carries the prospect of the unexpected; a team rising up the pecking order; a new talent tearing the form book in two; or the debut of game-changing technology.
Here are five occasions from F1’s past when things in race one didn’t turn out as expected.
1962 Dutch Grand Prix
Hill on the way to a debut victory in Formula 1
Bernard Cahier/Getty Images
This one can be traced all the way to the autumn of 1958. As then, FIA president Augustin Pérouse announced that F1 for 1961 would move from 2.5-litre engines to 1.5.
British teams stamped their feet at this, but the rule makers didn’t flinch. Ferrari, almost alone, prepared while others politicked and the Scuderia dominated the ‘61 season with its ‘sharknose’ 156. Yet for ’62 the flipside awaited, as the British squads were by now ready.