One season at just eight grand prix, two races per weekend … As the Covid-19 epidemic continues, the queen of motor racing is wondering how to save her year.
D-70. In exactly ten weeks, the Formula 1 season should start in Canada. June 14. But will this be the case? For the moment, the organizers of the Canadian event, as well as Liberty Media, the promoter of the discipline, have not made a decision as to a possible postponement, even though the first eight grand prizes have all been postponed, or even purely and simply canceled with regard to Australia or Monaco. But as the days go by and the Coronavirus pandemic does not falter globally, the question arises more and more – like tennis for example – whether or not to maintain the 2020 season. For Bernie Ecclestone, the former F1 boss, the answer is clear: “I think they had better cancel the championship this year and start again next season, when the situation gets better. “
From a regulatory point of view, the data is clear: for a championship to be validated, it must have at least eight races. In other words, on this point, there is not yet cause for concern since even the start of the season in late September or early October would offer sufficient time to organize these eight essential events. Especially since the teams have already given their agreement to eventually run until January 2021 and that the major upheaval in the regulation of single-seaters, planned for 2021, has been postponed to 2022. F1 has therefore given itself time to save 2020, but at what cost? And under what conditions ? “Let’s imagine that they (Liberty Media) manage to sign a contract with the promoters, with for example closed-door races and financial arrangements to allow it, then we will have to worry about whether it suits all the teams” , asks Ecclestone, who does not hide the fact that he would have liked to have had to manage such a crisis situation.
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Another regulatory fact to take into account, for a world championship to deserve such a designation, races must have taken place on three different continents. Again, the last three months of the year should make it possible since the calendar still features great prizes in Europe (Italy, Russia), Asia (Singapore, Japan) and on the two American continents (United States United, Mexico, Brazil). Without counting the possible postponements of certain events. So strictly from the point of view of the regulations, F1 still has a lot of calendar room to maneuver to stay in the nails, even if the season could not start in June in Canada or in France (the 28), which seems the most likely case today. But what sporting interest would have a season of only eight events, when twenty-two were initially scheduled?
“I think Verstappen and Red Bull will be in the game this year, able to rock Hamilton and Mercedes off their pedestals.”
On the subject, Nico Rosberg, the 2016 world champion, wants to be a good communicator by affirming on F1i.com: “It would increase the chances of seeing an outsider emerge if there are fewer races, because the luck factor will play more. I think Verstappen and Red Bull will be on the ball this year, able to rock Hamilton and Mercedes off their pedestals. ” As the former German driver believes that “the prospect of organizing two heats per weekend (currently under study) to compensate for the imbalance in the calendar should also disturb the teams. It would be very complicated to manage the engines… Everything would be different and it would tend to reshuffle the cards. ”
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Now, sporting interest or not, it is obvious that maintaining a season would above all have an economic importance, knowing that some teams may not survive a dry and white year. It remains to be seen now if Liberty Media does not have an interest in drawing a definitive line over the summer and on the floor on a new calendar starting in September. Or on August 30 at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), one of the legendary circuits of F1. It would be a magnificent theater to turn this dark page…