With the Covid-19 pandemic still present all over the globe, Ross Brawn has indicated that the 2020 Formula 1 season will likely start in Europe from July. Brawn, who is Formula 1’s managing director of motorsports and technical director, has expressed his desire to go racing as soon as possible, if anything to give fans some entertainment in difficult times.
“Travel for the teams and travel for everyone involved is going to be one of the big issues. You could argue once we get there we could become fairly self-contained,” said Brawn to Sky Sports.
“Our view is probably a European start will be favourable and that could even be a closed event. We could have a very enclosed environment, where teams come in on charters, we channel them into the circuit, we make sure everyone is tested, cleared and that there is no risk to anyone,” he continued, noting that some of the initial events could be held behind closed doors without fans present at race tracks.
“We have a race with no spectators. That’s not great, but it’s better than no racing at all. We have to remember there are millions of people who follow the sport sat at home. A lot of them are isolating and to be able to keep the sport alive and put on a sport and entertain people would be a huge bonus in this crisis we have. But we can’t put anyone at risk,” Brawn explained.
“We’re looking at the organisational structure which would give us the earliest start but also the ability to maintain that start. There’s no point having a start and then stopping again for a while. It’s most likely to be in Europe. It’s conceivable that it could be a closed event,” he added.
The 2020 season was supposed to feature 22 races, but two of them – the season-opening Australian Grand Prix as well as the Monaco Grand Prix – have been cancelled due to the health crisis. Meanwhile, every race up to the French Grand Prix on June 28 has been postponed so far.
Brawn stated it would be possible to have a 18-19 race calendar if it was possible to start racing in July, with a series of triple headers followed by a weekend off. “Eight races are the minimum we can have a world championship, according to the FIA statutes. We could achieve eight races by starting in October. So, if you wanted a drop dead point it would be October,” he said.
“But then there is always the possibility we could run into next year. That’s being explored. Can we stray into January to finish the season? There are all sorts of complications, as you can imagine, with that,” continued Brawn.
“If we were able to start at the beginning of July, we could do a 19-race season. It would be tough – three races on, one weekend off, three races on, one weekend off. We have looked at all the logistics, and we think we can hold an 18-19 race season if we can get started at the beginning of July. The choice is between those two numbers,” he explained.
The motorsport is also looking at a number of two-day Grand Prix events to ease the pressure in a compressed calendar. “We may have some two-day races in order to meet the logistical needs,” said Brawn. “For instance China looks like it will probably be a two-day race if we go ahead with it because to get there and get away to the next event we are planning, it could easily be a two-day race.”
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