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Ecclestone: Scrap the 2020 season

NEWS STORY
30/03/2020

Earlier this week, in a statement that appeared designed more to calm the fears of investors rather than fans, Chase Carey said that it was still the sport's target to hold 15 - 18 races this year.

Hot on the heels of a call from the promoter of the Canadian Grand Prix, who insists a decision must be made on the Montreal event by Easter (13 April), organizers at Silverstone issued a similar deadline.

Former F1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, who steered the sport through many a crisis in his time - some of which were his own handiwork - believes that the sport should bite the bullet and cancel the 2020 season now.

"Today what would I do? I think I'd have to say we're going to close down talk of having any races this year," the 89-year-old told Reuters. "That's the only thing you could do safely for everybody so nobody starts making silly arrangements which may not be able to happen."

Referring to Carey's target of 15 - 18 races, he said: "I'd be very, very, very surprised if they managed to achieve that.

"I hope they do," he continued. "I really hope they do. They could run three or four races at the beginning of next year and still count to the 2020 championship.

"The problem is where are you going to have them where the teams can go and the promoter wants to run a race. It's all very well making the calendar, which you can do while you wait. The big problem is getting the promoters to want to run the race.

"Silverstone can't run, for sure," he warned, days after Charles March, the Duke of Richmond, cancelled the Festival of Speed, due to take place the week before the Grand Prix. "That had to go, for the same reason. Who's going to go there?

"If you relied on our man in America, Donald, he says it's all going to be OK," he added. "I'm not sure. Maybe he's got some information we haven't got."

While the sport was looking forward to a massive overhaul in terms of the rules, Ecclestone believes that the uncertainty over the virus and the after-effect as a result of the financial impact it has might be the perfect opportunity to completely overhaul the entire sport.

"It could be a good opportunity for Liberty to really get control of everything," he said, "take over from all of the promoters and cut the costs immediately to teams, so they are going to need about 70 people instead of 700."

With F1 now worth less than when CVC bought it, and looking likely to incur further financial pain, there is talk that Ecclestone might form part of a consortium willing to take the sport back off Liberty's hands.

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1. Posted by TokyoAussie, 01/04/2020 4:53

"It may well need to be cancelled. I think that if we get any more cancellations (or postponements), the choice will be made for them. Beyond that, if any races do end up being held this year, make them all non-championship races. Fans will turn out in droves just to experience a bit of life again."

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2. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 30/03/2020 21:22

"Bernie is right again. So much wisdom. "

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3. Posted by Superbird70, 29/03/2020 4:16

"It may turn out that our entire sports world, not just F1, gets reset. The global economy will have other priorities, once we have learned to live with COVID19. We'll have to start again on climate change. My guess is that F1 wil return next year but smaller, with a more European focus in order manage costs. Look for 10-12 races with no fly aways, and maybe only 8 teams."

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4. Posted by 4-Wheel Drifter, 28/03/2020 19:59

"Well Chaps, Bill Hapgood is right:the virus is not something you can either control or predict. And you've 40 or 50 fairly financially well off drivers, never mind Team owners and managers. Never mind the race and what you choose to call it Championship points or no points, getting teams to a venue and back home involves way too much risk when we're in a "social distance" world. When people are trying not to go to the grocery store until it is absoliutely necessary, how many do you think will be willing to A: fly an airplanes, to an back, B. be in close quarters with, what? 25 or 30 team members and C. stay in hotels where they have no idea how clean they are? Get real. I don't care when they cancel the season. I don't care how much money investors lose? When we're moving the indy 500 to August (maybe) and the Kentucky Derby is cancelled until god knows when, when all major sports in America are cancelled, who in their righr mind would risk their lives to satisfy the desires of a bunch of fans watching on television in their safely quarentined homes?! Nobody loves racing more than I do. But we're in a DIFFERENT WORLD now. After how many months --what November, December, January, February, March China is inching back to normal, maybe 60% of where they were before the virus, people talking about August look silly. I hope Bernie survives the virus and buys F1 back. I'm not a big fan of his, but at least he knows and loves racing. These clowns trying to run it now don't know the first thing about racing: you get the best mechanics and engineers, you put together the best machines you can and you find the best drivers -- and then you let them RACE. You forget about "the constructor's championship, about which no one care; you forget about the Driver's championship, about which no one cares, and you forget about expensive, fancy venues and their ridiculous ticket prices and their rock and roll concerts and on and on.
You talk the the people at Spa, about useing their roads for a couple of day and at Silversone and at places that have never had an F1 race, but that have some roads they can clear out for a week end. And then you put on RACES. You DON'T rule out people that have created their own engines from scratch to protect Ferrari and Mercedes Benz and Renault and their corporate interests. You DON'T make everyone choose the tires you've made a deal with for god knows how much money. I'm talking "outlaw" Formula One. When you have real races, you don't need to worry about "putting on a show" because the drivers will be racing and their comments about the race won't be managed by corporate stooges. Team orders? THAT'S a laugh. Racing is NOT a "team sport"; it's not even, in fact, a "sport" at all: it's 20 or 25 matadors in the ring and only 1 gets to win."

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5. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 28/03/2020 19:18

"I have a suspicion that racing is at least a year away, maybe more.

Taking away the racing / business side of things and looking at the health aspect (that is the crisis we are in), the timing for a potential vaccine / treatment is what needs to be looked at.

If everyone can and does get a jab to ward off this Corona variant then for sure, large gatherings could be looked at.

However, if that doesn't happen, then large gatherings can't happen, even if there is a large herd immunity as there will still be vulnerable people out there.

Something else that could help is testing to reveal if a person has antibodies to the virus, i.e. they have had it and recovered and are unlikely to catch or pass it on again.

Until that happens, I think the cars will be parked up.

It could yet come to pass that F1, the FIA and race teams (not just F1 teams) get a government bailout of some description, for the business side of things, and to help maintain their employee / supplier base.

Something like that has happened in NZ already for all businesses. Someone in government even tried to put horse racing down as an "Essential Business" with the ability to keep training up beyond animal welfare. That scheme lasted days."

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6. Posted by Mambo, 28/03/2020 13:35

"I was thinking the same as klmn – a handful of non-championship races but being run as a full GP with points (but no championship), so the pole sitter and winner etc can add their success to their tally with no ifs, buts or astericks.

It will also benefit the teams (and race support structure) who get to refine their cars, procedures and experience for a full 2021 season – and we fans finally get to enjoy our sport."

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7. Posted by klmn, 28/03/2020 11:51

"At the end of the year maybe 2 or 4 non championship races with or without audience .Good for fans , media and sponsors . Or just training days with a few team members only must be possible"

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8. Posted by Greg, 28/03/2020 10:27

"Yes. Cancel the entire season. Bernie buys out it all back fir less than he sold it. Way to go. Bernie's cimment abiut liberty buying it all is not such a bad idea. Lets them thrn control the entire system"

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9. Posted by F1nerd, 28/03/2020 9:46

"Well, I agree with Bernie it would be better now than later, or as it appears one race at a time being cancelled. Lets get it sorted so everybody knows where they stand. I look forward to the season and am dissapointed that there has not been a race this year, but, it is better to keep the poeple of the world safe and well. So lets all look forward to a great season next year."

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10. Posted by rosscogeo, 28/03/2020 9:29

"If they cancel Canada they should cancel the whole season"

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