Formula 1 chief Chase Carey continues to look at the current situation regarding the coronavirus outbreak as a moving target, expecting the season to consist of 15-18 races.
This year’s F1 championship has been massively affected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus that forced the sport to delay the start of the 2020 campaign. The season-opening round at Melbourne has been postponed just hours ahead of the start of the first free practice session while the following seven races have also been either postponed or cancelled.
With the congested schedule and the nature of some races, the Monaco Grand Prix has been one of the victims which can only make a comeback in 2021 while it will be tough to find a spot in the calendar for the other postponed races as well. The earliest the season can start is the Canadian Grand Prix scheduled for June 7.
However, Carey does not rule out that the sport could face further delays should the situation not improve. With the summer break being brought forward, the sport can use the traditional shutdown between the Hungarian and the Belgian Grand Prix to slot in postponed races.
“We recognise there is significant potential for additional postponements in currently scheduled events, none the less we and our partners fully expect the season to start at some point this summer, with a revised calendar of between 15-18 races.”
“As previously announced we will utilize the summer break being brought forward to March/April, to race during the normal summer break period and anticipate the season end date will extend beyond our original end date of 27-29th November, with the actual sequence and schedule dates for races differing significantly from our original 2020 calendar.”
Although the sport intends to kick off the 2020 season as early as possible, Carey assured that every decision will be taken with health and safety in mind. “We are planning and fully committed to returning to the track at the earliest opportunity to commence the 2020 season and will continue to take advice from health officials and experts, as our first priority continues to be the safety and health of our fans, the communities we visit and those within the Formula 1 family.”
While the F1 season is being put on hold, the sport tries to exploit new ways to keep its fans entertained. The first initiative was the Bahrain Grand Prix that was held in the virtual world last Sunday with the attendance of the likes of Lando Norris, Nicholas Latifi and Johnny Herbert.
“This flexibility offers an opportunity to evolve the sport, experiment and try new things. That may include initiatives such as expanding our esports platform, developing more innovative content like Netflix Drive to Survive and other creative ways to drive ongoing value for the sport’s sponsor partners, broadcast partners, race promoters, teams and fans – the ecosystem of our fantastic sport," he said.