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Season could begin behind closed doors, admits Brawn


Ross Brawn has admitted that the season will most likely get underway in Europe behind closed doors, but still hopes for a 19-race calendar.

The F1 managing director, who earlier this week revealed that along with Chase Carey and 15 directors has taken a pay cut, admits that sport is leaving nothing off the table as it considers how best to finally get the 2020 season underway.

"Travel for the teams and travel for everyone involved is going to be one of the big issues," he tells Sky Sports. "You could argue once we get there we could become fairly self-contained.

"Our view is probably a European start will be favourable and that could even be a closed event," he admits. "We could have a very enclosed environment, where teams come in on charters, we channel them into the circuit, we make sure everyone is tested, cleared and that there is no risk to anyone.

"We have a race with no spectators," he continues. "That's not great, but it's better than no racing at all.

"We have to remember there are millions of people who follow the sport sat at home. A lot of them are isolating and to be able to keep the sport alive and put on a sport and entertain people would be a huge bonus in this crisis we have. But we can't put anyone at risk.

"We're looking at the organisational structure which would give us the earliest start. But also the ability to maintain that start. There's no point having a start and then stopping again for a while. It's most likely to be in Europe. It's conceivable that it could be a closed event."

While Chase Carey says the sport is hoping for a championship of between 15 and 18 races, Brawn admits the reality could be a lot less, though he hopes for as many as 19..

"Eight races is the minimum we can have a world championship, according to the FIA Statutes," he says. "We could achieve eight races by starting in October. So if you wanted a drop dead point it would be October.

"But then there is always the possibility we could run into next year," he adds. "That's being explored. Can we stray into January to finish the season? There are all sorts of complications, as you can imagine, with that.

"If we were able to start at the beginning of July we could do a 19-race season. It would be tough," he admits... three races on, one weekend off, three races on, one weekend off.

"We have looked at all the logistics, and we think we can hold an 18-19 race season if we can get started at the beginning of July. The choice is between those two numbers."

A long-time champion of reducing race weekends to a two-day format, Brawn admits that this is one of the ideas being considered.

"We may have some two-day races in order to meet the logistical needs," he says. "For instance China looks like it will probably be a two-day race if we go ahead with it because to get there and get away to the next event we are planning, it could easily be a two-day race."


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1. Posted by speedwagen, 13/04/2020 2:01

"The F1 organizers appear to be taking a rather passive approach at assessing the difficulties facing the upcoming season while trying to maintain some form of status quo, which I think is futile on their part. They should be more pro-active in their efforts & the following is my proposed revised 2020 F1 schedule.

It was originally a 20-race schedule that would end just in time for X-mas, but it's now been whittled down to 16. You'll note that the objective is to initially focus on Europe & it allows for a more spread-out schedule with ample time between races, i.e. 2 weeks for close proximity European races & 3 weeks for long distance overseas events, the purpose being to have a steady sustainable pace with no typical August break rather than the usually crammed schedule that requires the break, that way the teams can take their sweet time setting-up & breaking-down between races. I don't think cramming back-to-back 2-day events, as has been proposed, would be very viable.

You'll also note that all the European races are grouped together so that the teams can focus exclusively on trucking between races during the most uncertain part of the schedule while deferring the more taxing sea & air freight logistics for the final homestretch & fittingly, the 2 glitziest races would be the last. Unfortunately, nothing I've envisaged is likely to transpire.

Jun21 - France
Jul05 - Austria
Jul19 - Britain
Aug02 - Hungary
Aug16 - Russia
Aug30 - Belgium
Sep06 - Italy
Sep20 - Holland
Oct04 - Spain
Oct18 - US
Oct25 - Mexico }
Nov01 - Japan } - Mexico & Brazil OR Japan & China
Nov08 - Brazil/China }
Nov22 - Vietnam
Nov29 - Australia
Dec06 - Singapore
Dec20 - Abu Dhabi (Yaba Dhuba!!)

p.s. even if the above still proved to be overly optimistic, races can be eliminated 1-by-1 &/or reshuffled by priority or practicality while maintaining the overall principle stated above by focusing on Europe first & fly-away last, with a sustainable spread between races. If any of the European races prove to be problematic, Azerbaijan could be inserted in its place, as well as the likes of Hockenheim or other qualified European tracks . If any of the Far East races remain at risk, the remaining races could be moved up while inserting Bahrain the week prior to Abu Dhabi to form a Middle East doubleheader showdown finale, but I believe once the season gets going, there would likely be no need for further disruptions. If on the other hand too many races need to be eliminated to start the season due to safety concerns, they could implement F2-style doubleheaders by adding a 1/2 points sprint race to each remaining venue in order to salvage some form of completeness to an already compromised season.

p.p.s. In light of the late dates for Japan & China it could be an option to replace them with Mexico & Brazil, with a date adjustment for Mexico in light of its close proximity to Texas, if Latin America would be a preferred venue."

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2. Posted by TokyoAussie, 10/04/2020 4:38

"I'd rather wait for a proper race. Just my preference."

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3. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 09/04/2020 11:04

"Did Ross read my comments here on Pitpass?"

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4. Posted by F1nerd, 09/04/2020 9:45

"If the races are behind closed doors then the televised sessions should be "free - to - view" for everybody to be able to watch, otherwise a lot of fans will miss out on what they have been looking forward to for a long time."

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5. Posted by kenji, 09/04/2020 2:44

"Whatever it takes. That should be the overriding mantra for all. Based on full medi clearances for all teams and other trackside personnel, why not?. It will be strange but not so much for the biggest audience of all, the TV viewers. There will need to be a lifting of social distancing by specific sanctions for the race but that can be arranged easily given the rigid application of certain protocols. My suggestion is ...go go go. "

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