With the still pretty much unknown fate over the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, F1 bosses are looking into different possibilities concerning not only this year, but also the upcoming season of 2021. They have been investigating various possibilities to cut the costs and have already introduced the postponement of the 2021 new car regulations till 2020, which means that in the season of 2021 the teams will still run this year’s chassis in the next season. This is one of the outcomes of at least 9 races of this season already postponed or cancelled, which results in teams loosing considerable amount of money linked with the events not happening.
There is a possibility soon France will announce the postponement or cancellation of the race due to the measures implemented by the French government, banning all events till mid-July. The season is expected to start with the race (or races) in Austria in early July, but that does not mean that some of the other races afterwards will make it into the calendar. For example, Belgium banned all events till the 31st of August, when the Belgian GP was set on the 30th. Additionally, the F1 bosses are investigating the possibility of ending the 2020 season in January 2021 if needed. Taking into the consideration the rescheduling of the already postponed rounds of the championship, Ross Brawn expressed that it might results in three weekends on and one weekend off when it comes to scheduling the events of the season.
Now, with all of the fuss concerning how this season will look like and when actually it will end, the teams and F1 bosses are also thinking about dropping the 2021’s pre-season testing. In a recent interview with The-Race Andreas Seidl, the team principal of McLaren expressed: “It’s definitely something we have on the radar. The most important thing is to protect our people. I don’t see the race weekend itself as being the biggest issue.The biggest issue is the number of days we are all away from home.”
He added: “So if you can help that by having two-day events, or by skipping one test for example next year, in addition to the cost savings that would come from that as well, I think it’s definitely something which we need to look into. These are all the discussions that are happening between the teams, FIA and F1 as well.”
In another recent interview Seidl talked about the fate of the championship and the teams involved. He believes that although F1 itself will survive the repercussions linked with the pandemic, some of the teams from the grid might not. As he said: “I think the biggest risk that I see is that we lose teams if you don't take decisive action. It's very important that we put all these actions in place, that we have discussed in previous weeks, regarding freezing the cars, extension of our shutdowns and so on in order to make sure we do maximum money saving this year for all teams.”
He added: “I think it's very important to lower the budget cap in order to have a positive outlook. Also for everyone taking part in Formula 1 in the future, that you actually can be part of a sport which is also healthy and sustainable from the financial side.”
McLaren among other teams has furloughed some of its staff, and Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz Jr alongside senior managers of the team have accepted pay cuts as cost-saving steps during the pandemic. Other teams that have undertaken similar steps are Williams, Racing Point, Renault, Haas, and even Formula One as an organisation introduced some as well.
As of now, we still do not have a definite decision on how the season of 2020 will look like (or if its even going to take place) and when exactly it will start. Currently the only thing possible for all of us - including the teams, media and fans - is to wait and be considerate of the current situation in the world.