F1 Is Bracing for the Possibility of \u2018Zero Races\u2019 in 2020

Formula 1 majority owner Liberty Media is hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

The group admitted this past week that it has reshuffled its finances to free up a $1.4 billion fund to rescue Formula 1 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The F1 owner is quoted by Forbes’ F1 business journalist Christian Sylt as outlining how the complex transaction gives it the ability to use the money “for F1 in event of continued delay of season, including preserving health of ecosystem.”

Liberty CEO Greg Maffei revealed that the organization has already “advanced prize money to certain teams.”

“There are cases where we may do more of that. There are other things that we might do to bridge teams that might need help,” he added.

Maffei said Liberty needs the teams to stay “solvent because they are part of what we need to race successfully in 2020, 2021 and beyond.”

The first races in 2020 would have to take place without spectators, meaning the race promoters may actually need to be paid rather than pay a fee. Maffei admitted that F1 will “obviously have lower profitability, maybe even no profitability” for a time.

“It’s a challenge. How do we do something that is beneficial for fans, but also doesn’t have the teams bankrupting themselves?” he said.

He said F1 is aiming to get racing again “at some point this summer,” but Liberty also acknowledges that there could be “zero races, anywhere from 15-18 races, (or) races that begin with no fans present and only the teams.”

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