Since Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey made the announcement on Monday that “We're targeting a start to racing in Europe through July, August and beginning of September, with the first race taking place in Austria on 3-5 July weekend.” speculation has mounted as to which circuits will hold events and whether multiple Grand Prix will be held at a single circuit. On Tuesday, The Circuit de Catalunya made clear that they expect to be able to run the postponed Spanish GP in the summer of 2020 due to the fact that there are no restrictions on when the circuit can be used.
The Barcelona GP was originally scheduled for May 10th 2020 but due to being called off last month – that plan is no longer. Such is the climate that not a day seems to go by without a major F1 announcement as shown by the fact that the French GP is now officially cancelled. There is also increasing doubt as to whether Circuit Zandvoort and Spa Francorchamps will see any running in front of an expectedly jubilant Max Verstappen crowd following the local regulations stopping major events in Netherlands and Belgium until September 1st. Therefore, reason to be hopeful indeed following the announcement by the Circuit de Catalunya’s General Manager Joan Fontsere as revealed on motorsport.com:
"Since the beginning what we offered to Chase [Carey] is that we want to be on the same page…Obviously if they think we can help the sport of F1 to have a stronger and better world championship in the future, we will be there. That's the way we've acted from the beginning to today. We offered them the possibility of Barcelona organising an event, as we have 30 years of experience, and we are very well located in terms of logistics.”
Due to such a lengthy unexpected off season for the Formula 1 teams, a lot of positives would come from having one or even two Grand Prix in Barcelona seeing how this is the only circuit which has seen any 2020 F1 challengers in action – thanks to the pre-season testing. As such, should drivers be rusty (esports can only train them so much) this track’s familiarity will be of great use to the grid and Lando Norris recently commented to Formula 1 pundit Will Buxton on Instagram live that getting back to racing will be a shock to the system:
“When you go back into driving, it’s going to be a shock to the body. To be able to go from nothing…it’s literally going from driving a road car, and I’ve not even done that that much, to jumping into one of the fastest cars in the world, pulling x amount of G-Forces around the corner.”
Even more reason for a familiar track to be on the revised 2020 F1 calendar and Joan Fostere also made clear to motorsport.com that racing in Barcelona is a very real possibility:
"We are in close contact now with F1 and having conversations about a new date in the season. As Chase says, they are starting the season in Europe in July/August, and we will be there, around those dates, for sure."
Silverstone has already made clear that any Grand Prix will not have any fans in attendance and any Barcelona Grand Prix seems set to suffer a similar fate:
"We can run an event like that with no spectators in two or three weeks. We can manage that easily, because we have 320 days per year of activity at the track, so our machine is ready when the lights go out. Obviously with no attendance it will be much easier because there is no marketing campaign, no spectator control, etcetera."
Just glancing through social media, one can clearly see how much Formula 1 racing is being missed and should Barcelona prove victorious in staging an event, their popularity would no doubt grow in the eyes of the F1 community. This reaction would be most welcome for a Grand Prix which survives on one-year deals and many predict being removed from the 2021 calendar.
With the start of the season now expected in early July and the World Motor Sport Council extending the shutdown to 63 consecutive days – when action commences it will be rapid.
All of this, like most articles being written the last two months, is pure speculation. The country of Spain has experienced over 220,000 cases of COVID-19 which has resulted in almost 23,000 fatalities and this shall never be forgotten.
As May approaches, to hear the news that Spain has just had the smallest increase in deaths in more than a month is uplifting news indeed. As the country looks to recover from the pandemic it seems more and more that sport will be the outlet to rejuvenate nations and put smiles back on the faces of citizens. F1 is willing and ready to answer this call and so is the Circuit de Catalunya.