LONDON – The CEO of Formula 1 said on Monday that the organization expects the 2020 Championship to get under way during the summer with the first of at least 15 races after the coronavirus pandemic forced the postponement of the first eight Grand Prix events on this year’s competition calendar.
“Over the past week, Formula 1, the 10 F1 teams and the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, the sport’s governing body) have come together and taken rapid, decisive action as part of our initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chase Carey said in a statement.
“While at present no-one can be certain of exactly when the situation will improve, it will improve and when it does, we will be ready to go racing again. We are all committed to bringing our fans a 2020 Championship Season,” the F1 boss said.
The campaign was supposed to begin March 15 with the Australian Grand Prix, but that race was called off hours before the scheduled start of free practice, followed in rapid succession by the postponement of the next six races on the schedule: Bahrain, Vietnam, China, the Netherlands, Spain and Monaco.
Early Monday, organizers of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, set for June 7 in Baku, said that the race was being postponed.
“We recognize there is significant potential for additional postponements in currently scheduled events, nonetheless we and our partners fully expect the season to start at some point this summer, with a revised calendar of between 15-18 races,” Carey said.
F1 announced last week that the usual mid-season break would take place during the Covid-19 shutdown rather than in August “We will utilize the summer break being brought forward to March/April to race during the normal summer break period, and anticipate the season end date will extend beyond our original end date of 27-29th November, with the actual sequence and schedule dates for races differing significantly from our original 2020 calendar,” Carey said Monday.
Before the coronavirus, the main story line of the 2020 season was British driver Lewis Hamilton’s bid to win a seventh championship, equaling the record set by Michael Schumacher.