F1 Executive Sets October Deadline for 2020 Start

The latest the 2020 Formula 1 season could start is October.

The fewest number of events that could constitute a legitimate World Championship is eight.

That’s the conclusion from F1 director of motorsports Ross Brawn in an interview with Sky Sports overnight Wednesday concerning the coronavirus shutdown. If the highest level of international motorsports could begin the 2020 season during the summer months, the 65-year-old executive is convinced that a 19-race season could ensue.

“Eight races is the minimum we can have a World Championship, (according to) the FIA statutes,” Brawn told Sky Sports. “We could achieve eight races by starting in October. So, if you wanted a drop-dead point it would be October.

“But then there is always the possibility we could run into next year. That’s being explored. Can we stray into January to finish the season? There are all sorts of complications, as you can imagine, with that.

“If we were able to start at the beginning of July, we could do a 19-race season. (It would be) tough—three races on, one weekend off, three races on, one weekend off. We have looked at all the logistics, and we think we can hold an 18- to 19-race season if we can get started at the beginning of July. The choice is between those two numbers.”

The Canadian Grand Prix was postponed on Tuesday—leaving the first nine races postponed or outright canceled. The prestigious Monaco Grand Prix has been axed for the first time since 1954. The season-opening event in Melbourne is currently characterized as canceled with no plausible makeup date.

To make the condensed schedule work, Formula 1 would likely have to make race weekends a two-day, instead of three-day, show. The promotional body is also considering events without spectators or two races at one venue.

Whatever it takes to contest a full Formula 1 World Championship.

“Travel for the teams and travel for everyone involved is going to be one of the big issues,” Brawn added. “You could argue once we get there we could become fairly self-contained.

“Our view is probably a European start will be favorable, and that could even be a closed event. We could have a very enclosed environment, where teams come in on charters, we channel them into the circuit, we make sure everyone is tested, cleared and that there is no risk to anyone.

“We have a race with no spectators. That’s not great, but it’s better than no racing at all. We have to remember there are millions of people who follow the sport sat at home. A lot of them are isolating and to be able to keep the sport alive and put on a sport and entertain people would be a huge bonus in this crisis we have. But we can’t put anyone at risk.

“We’re looking at the organizational structure which would give us the earliest start. But also the ability to maintain that start. There’s no point having a start and then stopping again for a while. It’s most likely to be in Europe. It’s conceivable that it could be a closed event.”

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