As the chequered flag flew at the end of pre-season testing in February, Formula 1 prepared for the opening race in Melbourne with three political battles already brewing. In the space of nine days, controversies had emerged concerning Mercedes, Ferrari and Racing Point that left teams preparing to duel off-track upon touchdown in Australia.
But when not a single car took to the track for the season opener and the COVID-19 pandemic surged, it became clear that F1 had a wider, existential battle that required a level of collaboration rarely seen before in the series' 70-year history.
But once it made its welcome return in Austria to kick-start a 17-race season, such unity quickly broke down as the traditional infighting returned through a number of sagas, some of which proved crucial to defining F1's long-term future. F1's #WeRaceAsOne mantra rang true in many ways, but nothing could stop the fierce competition between the teams from spilling over at points.