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F1 2020: Where Do We Go?

Darry Worthington takes a look at the issues facing the continuation of the F1 season and what options the FIA are looking at to keep the season alive.

Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sport

While most sporting disciplines are suffering heavily at the hands of Covid-19, the one sport that is likely to be the most affected by the epidemic is Formula 1.

The problem for F1 is that while other sports generally happen in one country or a small geographic space, the F1 season is truly a global one with stops on each continent. Which means, even if a few countries get the virus under control in the next two months, it’s no guarantee that all the remaining races on the calendar will go ahead as some countries may well be dealing with this virus for an extended period of time.

Season Calendar With Cancelled and Postponed Races

Australian Grand Prix
Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit
Sunday 15 March *Cancelled

Bahrain Grand Prix
Bahrain International Circuit
Sunday 22 March *Postponed

Vietnamese Grand Prix
Hanoi Street Circuit
Sunday 5 April *Postponed

Chinese Grand Prix
Shanghai International Circuit
Sunday 19 April *Postponed

Dutch Grand Prix
Circuit Park Zandvoort
Sunday 3 May *Postponed

Spanish Grand Prix
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Sunday 10 May *Postponed

Monaco Grand Prix
Circuit de Monaco
Sunday 24 May *Cancelled

Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Baku City Circuit
Sunday 7 June

Canadian Grand Prix
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Sunday 14 June

French Grand Prix
Circuit Paul Rickard
Sunday 28 June

Austrian Grand Prix
Red Bull Ring
Sunday 5 July

British Grand Prix
Sunday 19 July

Hungarian Grand Prix
Sunday 2 August

Belgian Grand Prix
Sunday 30 August

Italian Grand Prix
Autodromo National Monza
Sunday 6 September

Singapore Grand Prix
Marina Bay Street Circuit
Sunday 20 September

Russian Grand Prix
Sochi Autodrom
Sunday 27 September

United States Grand Prix
Circuit of the Americas
Sunday 25 October

Mexican Grand Prix
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Sunday 1 November

Brazillian Grand Prix
Autodromo Carlos Pace
Sunday 15 November

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Yas Marina Circuit
Sunday 25 November

Financial Implications

Like most sports, F1 makes the majority of its money from advertising and broadcasting rights. In addition, the sport also takes a hefty amount of money from each country that hosts a race as countries actually have to buy race hosting rights from the F1 head honchos. With a number of races having either been cancelled or postponed and no advertising or broadcasting money trickling in with no broadcasts available, F1 is bleeding money quicker than a person suffering from Hemophilia who has just been attacked by not one but two axe murderers.

Conservative estimates reckon that Formula 1 has already lost in the region of 200 Million Dollars due to the Chinese, Vietnamese, Bahrain and Australian Grand Prix not going ahead as scheduled. Things will only get worse with the Dutch and Spanish Grand Prix postponed and the jewel in the season’s crown, the Monaco Grand Prix, cancelled.

While the big teams such as Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari will be able to weather the storm, smaller outfits like Racing Point and Haas may well struggle to bounce back from the financial hits next season.

Driver Contracts

Another area that will be influenced by the season being shortened is driver contracts. There was a lot of speculation regarding some big-name moves at the start of the year but these moves may be put on ice now. One of these was Lewis Hamilton’s proposed move to Ferrari, which is unlikely to materialise now as he still needs two Drivers’ Championship titles to overtake Michael Schumacher, and he is unlikely to do that in a Ferrari based on the showing from the Prancing Stags during the pre-season testing stints.

Speaking of Ferrari drivers, there was also a lot of speculation over the current duo at Ferrari with Charles LeClerc in the final year of his contract and Sebastian Vettel has struggled over the past 12 or so months. While both men could still move on it, it seems less likely now that the season has been cut short.

What the Season Could Look Like

Well, we know that there will be no Australian or Monaco Grand Prix this season, and I highly doubt there will be an Italian or Spanish Grand Prix this year.

The FIA will have a massive rescheduling job on their hands as they will have to find space for the Chinese, Vietnamese, Bahrain, Dutch and possibly the Spanish Grand Prix. This will be a nightmare to do as the Pandemic is still likely to be wreaking havoc on transportation systems well into the tail end of the year. And with F1 being a highly logistically orientated sport, it will be near on impossible to fit all these races into a four to six month period.

And while the current pandemic is highly fluid and ever-changing, I can only see about 12 of the schedule 22 races going ahead.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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