While some race promoters are open to stage ’ghost races’, accepting the loss of the profit from ticket sales, others don’t consider event behind closed doors as viable options.
The Red Bull Ring has been the most vocal venue about its willingsness to host a race behind closed even if it means that its income will be only based on sponsors while the profit generated by ticket sales and fan hospitality will fall away.
The modern facility and the race promoter has been putting a range of measure in place to test the viability of a grand prix in the current health situation. Speaking to Kleine Zeitung, Red Bull driver advisor dr Helmut Marko said that „ we will end the lockdown in Formula 1 at the end of May”, meaning that teams can start working on their cars and prepare themselves for the season-opening event.
It has also been reported by the Austrian newspaper that a large part of the Red Bull Ring personnel has gone through a coronavirus test in order to check their state of health „That shows that we can get large numbers of tests done quickly," Marko added.
Similar to the Austrian Grand Prix Promoter, Silverstone has also reiterated its intention multiple times to host a grand prix on the iconic track where the first race of the Formula 1 championship was held on 13 May 1950. The circuit chief Stuart Pringle said earlier that his team has assessed various scenarios regarding the schedule and track layout of the British Grand Prix with also confirming that Silverstone could host multipe races in July.
Despite the optimism, Pringle confirmed today that the British Grand Prix could also take place behind closed doors given the challenges caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
“I am extremely disappointed to tell you that we are unable to stage this year’s British Grand Prix in front of the fans at Silverstone. We have left this difficult decision for as long as possible, but it is abundantly clear given the current conditions in the country and the government requirements in place now and for the foreseeable future, that a Grand Prix under normal conditions is just not going to be possible.
“Our obligations to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in preparing and delivering the event, our volunteer marshals and Race Makers, and of course, you, the amazing fans, means that this is the best, safest and only decision we could make,” he said.
Uncertainty revolving around other venues
While the 2020 F1 season could finally kick off it Spielberg with a possible doube-header followed by another duo of races at Silverstone, the remaining part of the European leg of the season is still unclear. The Monaco and the French Grand Prix have been already called off due to the specific requirements to the street circuit and the ban on mass gathering respectively.
With Belgium extending the ban on large events until at least August 31, the Belgian Grand Prix also looks under threat. Italy has also indicated at the weekend that travel restrictions will remain in place until at least Autumn, casting doubts on the Italian Grand Prix.
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix which was set to be staged on June 7 has been postponed with the possiblity of finding a slot for the spectacular street race in the overhauled 2020 calendar. The Baku promoter said in a statement that it can hardly imagine a race without spectators.
"We do not consider it expedient to hold a race without spectators. We hope that by the end of June this year there will be opportunities and the conditions under which Baku will be able to accept the teams and Formula 1 fans," it added.
The promoter of the Russian Grand Prix said that they have been not yet approached by Formula 1 about the proposal to change the date of the 2020 Sochi race. Speaking to Russia’s Championat, the Promoter also stressed that the event should go ahead with spectators.
"We are set to hold the race with an audience on the dates approved by Formula 1, and continue to prepare for the seventh grand prix in Russian history.”