Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey has announced that the competition plans to start its 2019 campaign ‘at some point this summer’ with a limited number of races in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The company is expected to host a shortened season with the races being reduced from 21 to between 15 and 18, according to Carey via a statement.
The CEO continued: “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 will utilise 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.
“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 fulfil lost events from the first part of this year.”
The news follows F1’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku becoming the eighth race to be postponed in 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Unlike other sporting organisations, the company has refused to set a specific date or state which races will be resumed in the new format.
Chase did provide some optimism for race fans, suggesting the idea that due to the season being postponed the company will have the opportunity to adapt and focus more on content and other areas. This is most notably apparent in the firm’s esports sector which has seen a massive surge of popularity in recent weeks.
“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’s 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,” continued Chase.
“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.”
All the measures Chase stated have been approved by Formula 1, the ten F1 teams and the FIA in order to ensure that the new format and rules benefit everybody involved. However, according to Chase, racing fans can be assured that in some shape or form F1 will still have its World Championships this year.