Formula 1 is targeting 15-18 races this season and will extend the championship season beyond the original end date of 27 November, according to CEO and chairman Chase Carey.
In a statement issued on Monday following the postponement of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – the eighth race to be either postponed or cancelled – Carey praised the speed at which the sport is adapting to the situation and admitted that more race dates are likely to change. With the season currently due to conclude with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of November, Carey also said there is the potential to fit in the majority of events by extending the calendar.
“Over the past week, Formula 1, the 10 F1 teams and the FIA have come together and taken rapid, decisive action as part of our initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Carey said. “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.
“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.
“As previously announced 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.
“It is not possible to provide a more specific calendar now due to the fluidity of the current situation but we expect to gain clearer insights to the situation in each of our host countries, as well as the issues related to travel to these countries, in the coming month.”
Carey believes F1 can be experimental with a number of aspects this year in order to try and provide additional value, both while racing is on hold and when the season resumes.
“With the benefit of the FIA’s announcement and agreement in principle to freeze technical regulations throughout 2021, no summer break and factory shut downs being moved forward to March/April the sport now intends to race through the period normally set aside for the summer break and fulfill lost events from the first part of this year.
“This flexibility offers an opportunity to evolve the sport, experiment and try new things. That may include initiatives such as expanding our Esports platform, developing more innovative content like Netflix Drive to Survive and other creative ways to drive ongoing value for the sport’s sponsor partners, broadcast partners, race promoters, teams and fans – the ecosystem of our fantastic sport.
“Between Formula 1, the teams and the FIA, working with our key stakeholders, we are planning and fully committed to returning to the track at the earliest opportunity to commence the 2020 season and will continue to take advice from health officials and experts, as our first priority continues to be the safety and health of our fans, the communities we visit and those within the Formula 1 family.
“We’re confident we’ll all get through this and see better days ahead, and, when we do, we will ensure that everyone invested in this sport at every level feels rewarded.”