Formula 1 will be able to finalize an updated 2020 race calendar without the approval of the teams, according to chairman and CEO Chase Carey.
The first seven rounds of the season have been officially postponed — with Monaco since confirming it will not host a race this year — as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. F1 has been swift in responding to the evolving situation, as the summer shutdown has been brought forward to March and April, while the introduction of the 2021 technical regulations have also been postponed until 2022.
With the need to react quickly both now and when racing is able to resume, Carey says the sport has the ability to finalize a new race calendar without needing the teams to give their official approval to the schedule.
“During this exceptional time and following several race postponements and the World Motor Sport Council’s unanimous decision to move the Formula 1 summer break forward to March and April, we and the FIA discussed with the teams the need for extra flexibility to accommodate a rescheduled season once the COVID-19 situation improves,” Carey wrote on the official Formula 1 website.
“At the meeting there was full support for the plans to reschedule as many of the postponed races as possible as soon as it is safe to do so. Formula 1 and the FIA will now work to finalize a revised 2020 calendar and will consult with the teams, but as agreed at the meeting the revised calendar will not require their formal approval. This will give us the necessary flexibility to agree revised timings with affected race promoters and to be ready to start racing at the right moment.”
It is expected F1 will still make teams aware of new dates before they are finalized due to the logistics involved, but Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admits his team is willing to take on a condensed schedule towards the end of the season.
“As a team and as a sport we must do everything we can to keep our people safe and minimize the risk of spreading the virus,” Wolff said. “We fully support the decisions taken yesterday, and we will work closely with F1, the FIA, the local promoters and our fellow teams to find the best answers for our sport in the coming months.
“In March and April, the factories of all teams will be shut down for a period of three weeks. Bringing forward the summer shutdown period also frees up additional weekends in August which could then be used to host some of the postponed races – and hopefully provide some action-packed weeks once the season gets going. Of course, we will make sure to look after our colleagues to ensure their well-being during those busy weeks.”