Formula 1 teams are open to the idea of finishing the 2020 season in January of next year in order to get in as many races as possible.
With no racing possible until June 14 – the current date for the Canadian GP – at the very earliest, and even that looking ambitious – F1 is working on a number of different scenarios with the aim of eventually restructuring the calendar to fit in 15-18 races. Red Bull advisor Dr Helmet Marko said a number of options are being considered, and that finishing the 2020 season in early 2021 could work given the decision to continue using the current chassis for the next two years.
“If you do several races on the same racetrack, you have to choose an attractive one with overtaking opportunities,” Marko told Austrian broadcaster ORF. “It makes sense to shorten the weekend to Saturday and Sunday, because if it rains on Friday due to tire restrictions, nobody is driving anyway. And it will also be more exciting because you cannot try everything and more unlikely things come into play.
“And if, for example, we have a world championship finishing in January, that’s okay, we’ll skip some testing because the chassis and tires stay the same, and the cost of a test is roughly comparable to a race. So we would have seen more attractiveness at the same cost.”
Marko’s comments echo those made by Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto on Sky Sports Italia, who also suggested Friday practice could be scrapped to fit in more races, as well as extending two or three rounds into January.
Marko also believes there is a need to try and reschedule as many races as possible to increase income to the teams at a time when the sport is set to take a big financial hit, with F1 having already opted to delay the introduction of new regulations and move the mandatory shutdown forward.
“It hits promoters, Liberty – the commercial rights holder – and teams,” he said. “Reduced earnings mean that less is distributed to the teams. Reduced costs due to fewer races are significantly lower than the loss of income. Our material orders, all of which are special spare parts, have already been made for the year, many hotel bookings have also been made and so on.
“So Liberty is expecting a loss of $200-300 million in revenue. This is transferred to the teams as a percentage, therefore we’ve taken these saving measures to compensate for this loss of income.”
Interview translation by Christian Menath