With half of 2020 ticked off, the F1 principals, dealing with the uncertainty of Covid-19’s relentless and unwelcome touch, have written off Azerbaijan, Suzuka, and the night race at Singapore. This comes just after releasing an initial 2020 calendar, with an expectation a second would confirm the finalization of the season.
The organizers have, unfortunately, had to look at the effort and lead-in time required to construct an F1 sanctioned street circuit, and said: “… in Japan, ongoing travel restrictions also led to the decision not to proceed with the race.”
Ross Brawn, the F1 motorsports principal, has however hinted at the second half of 2020 will be a busy one. “We have lots of different options and we’re very confident we’re going to have a great second half of the season.” Brawn infers that the second calendar has space for replacing the three races cancelled this week, saying there is room for one or two more races in Europe, with the list possibly containing the likes of Mugello (owned by Ferrari), Imola, Portimao, and Hockenheim.
By adding in these tracks, Brawn says this would give F1 a comprehensive season. He also appears to confirm that the two races at Abu Dhabi and Dubai will conclude the season. He added: “At the same time we have made significant progress with existing and new promoters on the revised calendar and have been particularly encouraged by the interest that has been shown by new venues in hosting a Formula 1 race during the 2020 season.
Chase Carey, the head of F1, backs up Brawn’s thoughts and also adds that the Covid-19 situation has brought a sense of urgency to the calendar. He added that this urgency has drive the F1 organization to work on and through things that, under normal working circumstances, would have been attended to but over a longer span of time.
Carey acknowledged the efforts put in by the teams, their principals, and the drivers, to do their best to further any effort to get track time happening. “Families squabble and families compete, that is certainly not unique to any family. In many ways you want that competition to exist, it’s the backbone of the sport but I think when things get tough, and clearly things are tough right now, they rose to the occasion.”
When asked about the still-possible 15 to 18 races for what is left of 2020, Carey agrees that the ongoing uncertainty has to be first and foremost as a consideration. “With the fluidity of the situation, a deadline would create pressures which may not be right and realistic for the situation so we’re thinking of goals.” He added that, as in any form of motorsport, safety is the number one priority, and that F1 would not rush nor be rushed into restarting the season unless all factors had been considered. Carey says plans for a restart are supported by the teams and drivers, and in regards to seeing cars on track would happen “with a confidence we have the right procedures in place to be able to do it in the right way”.
The current schedule has the first race at the Red Bull Ring, Austria, for July 3 to 5.