Amid the ever-growing concerns linked to the Coronavirus pandemic, no news have surfaced on the revision of the 2020 F1 calendar this week. As things stand, the Canadian GP on June 14th would be the earliest race on schedule, but promoters and F1 bosses prefer not to give anything away at this state due to the fluidity of the situation.
An exasperated version of a busy and fast-paced 2020-21 superseason might be on the horizon, as a challenging and demanding action plan is currently under scrutiny. F1 bosses are currently considering the idea of disputing from 15 to 18 races until December 2020 or January 2021. Different weekend formats are also being pondered in order not to overwhelm F1 personnel, teams and drivers but the safety of the millions of fans attending the events must not be neglected either. In this regard David Coulthard, whose view on the resumption of the 2020 season appears rather encouraging and optimistic, believes that the first races will be held as participants-only events.
The intention of disputing a race behind closed doors was first manifested by the Bahrain International Circuit, which was supposed to host the second race of the season on March 22nd. Following the cancellation of the Australian GP, seven more races were swiftly called off, and therefore the actual effectiveness of such an extreme precautional measure has not been tested out yet.
“I really believe that sporting events will return much faster than concerts and other events that attract a lot of people, so the races will start again soon” said Coulthard in an interview to Ziggo Sport.
Speaking about the Dutch GP, stadium chants and atmosphere from rowdy local fans might be thwarted in case the race finds a free slot either in July or August. A race behind closed doors is certainly not the most impactful way to make a comeback for Zandvoort.
“I think the Grand Prix will take place without spectators in the stands soon.”
“The races will be held with the public in the last part of the season. Even if there are no fans, I think the Dutch Grand Prix will be successful,” he continued.
“It is a pity that the race did not take place on the scheduled dates because of this. Everyone was eagerly awaiting such a race and I hope they can set a specific date. Everything that happens reminds the world that we should be careful.”
A more complex scenario has been illustrated by Mattia Binotto, who outlined the option of extending the 2020 season to January 2021.
“If this allows us to guarantee a more complete 2020 world championship, with the following season not starting until March, there is great availability for that.”
Interviewed by Sky Sport Italia, Ferrari’s team principal also believes that an extreme condensation of races in a proportionally short span of time will lead to two-day weekends to tackle any logistics-related issues deriving from back-to-back events.
“With regards to the timetable, we have given Carey and the FIA the freedom to define the calendar as they need to under these conditions. We can also have two-day weekends, with free practice moved to Saturday morning, so that we can meet the logistical needs in case of grands prix being close together.”