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Binotto reveals F1 considering two-day GP weekends

NEWS STORY
30/03/2020

With absolutely no idea when the world might awake to discover that the coronavirus pandemic has passed, it seemed somewhat optimistic earlier this week when Chase Carey claimed the sport is still looking to host a 15 - 18 round championship.

This week saw Azerbaijan postponed, while the organizers of the Canadian and British Grands Prix have now set Easter deadlines by which time they must know if their races are a go or a no.

Behind the scenes, F1 bosses are not only looking at how to rearrange the schedule as best they can, but what changes might be needed to ensure the championship can go ahead.

Talks with team bosses have led to proposals being put forward to not only extend the 2020 championship into 2021 but to reduce race weekends to two-day events, something the sport, under its new owners, has long pushed for.

"We are engaged in constant dialogue," Ferrari team boss, Mattia Binotto told Sky Sports Italia. "I have felt, along with the other team principals, that these are crucial moments.

"With regards to the timetable, we have given Carey and the FIA the freedom to define the calendar as they need to under these conditions," he continued, the most recent update from the FIA stipulating that the calendar can be agreed without the unanimous approval of the teams. "We can also have two-day weekends, with free practice moved to Saturday morning, so that we can meet the logistical needs in case of Grands Prix being close together."

For the world championship to count there must be a minimum of 8 races, however, if there are less than 15 races broadcasters contracts state that they have the right to reduce their fees, a major consideration when one considers that broadcasting is the sport's largest single source of revenue, pouring 676m (762.8m) into the coffers last year.

To that extent, Binotto admits that the 2020 season could be extended into early 2021.

"These are all places where we, as a team, need to ensure maximum availability," he said. "We will evaluate different ideas... we could think of doing two or three races in January. If this allows us to guarantee a more complete 2020 world championship, with the following season not starting until March, there is great availability for that.

"We started smart-working right after Australia," he continued. "Now we're in FIA shutdown, which continues the period that in our case started early.

"With Seb and Charles, we speak almost daily. They are both at home and they are training as always. They are undoubtedly fit."

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