INDIANAPOLIS — The world has essentially be on a shut down for much of 2020. The timing of those shut downs have varied due to COVID-19 and when it’s hit each country, but for much of the last couple of months, nothing has been happening anywhere.
Here in the United States, racing is going to be the sport at the front of the pack in a return to competition. NASCAR has a plan in place to resume their season on May 17. The NTT IndyCar Series is hoping to get started on June 6. All signs are pointing to fanless races for the foreseeable future within the next month or so.
What about Formula One?
We now know that the initial first 10 races (Australia, Bahrain, China, Vietnam, Netherlands, Spain, Monaco, Azerbaijan, Canada and France) have been altered. In the case for Australia, Monaco and France, they’re been canceled. That leaves seven races left to find a spot on the future schedule.
Speaking of that future schedule, the new plan is to begin on July 5 in Austria. F1 boss Chase Carey revealed an updated calendar which will start in July and end in December. If all goes to plan, F1 would go on that July 5 date and end sometime in the middle of December in Abu Dhabi. They could run the makeup date for Bahrain in early December and Abu Dhabi a week later.
But, what happens in between? We know that we started with 22 races but three age gone. That leaves 19 tracks available for 23-24 weekends. Carey, previously said that he thinks 18 races moving forward is ideal and we know that Austria and England are planning on doubleheaders. That would eliminate at least three tracks then.
July-August is slated for European venues (Austria, England, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and Azerbaijan). Belgium and the Netherlands have bans on mass gatherings through August while Azerbaijan is a street race and a hard one to plan. While the plan is to start the season off without fans, how can you have a mass gathering of personnel in a country banning mass gatherings.
So, Austria, England, Hungary, Italy and Spain are the best chances for European races.
Then, it’s to the Asia portion in September and October. Russia, Japan and Vietnam are good chances to host a race but Singapore (street race) and China (the country the coronavirus originated in) likely would be left off. That means we might have only three races in Asia.
For November, it’s over here to North and South America. I doubt two of the races take place. COTA here in United States has a $25 million sanctioning fee. How can they afford that if fans don’t show? Montreal (Canada) is a part street course too and said to be in doubt of hosting a race in 2020. That means just Mexico and Brazil would be the best cases to race on this hemisphere.
December would leave the two Middle East Races.
My best guess at a schedule would be 12 venues with doubleheaders sprinkled in.
- Abu Dhabi