Formula 1 is poised to bring forward its mandatory summer shutdown to start as early as the end of this week in order to open up flexibility in the calendar and cut costs.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the first four races being postponed, with a likely start date for the season now being no earlier than the Monaco Grand Prix on May 24. In reality, the season is expected to start even later than that, with most employees in Europe being told to work from home for the foreseeable future.
RACER understands that in order to deal with the unprecedented situation, the teams have agreed to bring the mandatory shutdown period – usually two weeks to be taken during a three-week window in August – forward by a number of months to start from March 23.
As many race team members are in the first week of two weeks of self-isolation after returning from Australia, the shutdown period will be extended to three weeks, which must be taken by the end of April. The extended shutdown will also help to reduce overheads for the teams at a time when they are being hit financially.
By moving the shutdown, the whole of August will be available for races to be rescheduled if required, opening up three previously blocked weekends. At present the races in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam and China need rescheduling, although the Netherlands and Spain are also expected to fall by the wayside.
Agreement from seven of the ten teams is required to push through such a change, but it is understood all 10 are on board with the plan.