Formula One’s former boss Bernie Ecclestone thinks there is only a slim chance for the 2020 season to kick off in the forseeable future amid the ongoing coronavirus crises.
The novel COVID-19 pandemic has already had a huge impact on the 2020 Formula 1 championship, leading to a series of postponements and cancellations of grands prix. The Monaco and the Australian Grands Prix have been cancelled while six other rounds, the Bahrain, Vietnamese, Chinese, Dutch, Spanish and Azerbaijan GPs, have been postponed and could be rescheduled for later in the year.
However, as the situation has shown a negative trend across the globe over the past weeks, it is possible that more races will be called off. The earliest the season can kick of fit the Canadian Grand Prix that is scheduled for June 14, but with the number of infections increasing in Canada as well, the usually thrilling race at Montreal is also doubtful.
Speaking exclusively to Reuters, the sport’s former chief Bernie Ecclestone said he doubts that this year’s F1 season can be saved. “Today what would I do? I think I’d have to say we’re going to close down talk of having any races this year. That’s the only thing you could do safely for everybody so nobody starts making silly arrangements which may not be able to happen.”
The Olympic Games which were set to take place in Tokyo, Japan this summer have also been postponed for next year. Ecclestone thinks it was the right decision to take which can also show the way how Formula 1 needs to react to the current situation. “Which is what they had to do for the Olympics of course. It’s unfortunate but that’s how it is.”
In a letter published by the Commercial Rights’ Holder, F1’s CEO and Chairman Chase Carey said he is confident that the situation will improve and the sport can reshuffle its 2020 calendar, accommodating some of the postponed events. Despite the hopes of Carey to stage 15-18 races in 2020, Ecclestone is unsure whether the situation would allow rearranging such a calendar for this season.
“I’d be very, very, very surprised if they managed to achieve that. I hope they do. I really hope they do. They could run three or four races at the beginning of next year and still count to the 2020 championship. The problem is where are you going to have them where the teams can go and the promoter wants to run a race,” he is quoted as saying by Reuters.