Brawn admits F1 aiming to scrap the summer break

14/03/2020
NEWS STORY

Though Melbourne is cancelled, China, Bahrain and Vietnam are merely postponed, with Zandvoort and Barcelona almost certain to share a similar fate.

As a result, as F1 bosses seek to rearrange the schedule, determined to cancel as few races as possible - as no race means no hosting fee, depending on who makes the call - all manner of options are being considered.

While, courtesy of its location and therefore the guarantee of good weather all-year, means that Bahrain could be added to the end of the season, any European races that are postponed could not, and would still need to be held sooner rather than later.

F1 MD, Ross Brawn, while admitting that the summer break is likely to be scrapped in order to allow postponed races to be held, believes the season could still comprise as many as 18 races.

"Maybe we take a hiatus, we take a pause," he told Sky Sports, "and then we use that opportunity to say right, for this time at the beginning of the year we won't have any races, we'll look at relocating those races later in the year.

"I think by freeing up the August break, we give ourselves several weekends where we can have a race," he continued. "And I think we can build a pretty decent calendar for the rest of the year.

"It will look different," he admitted, "but it will still preserve a good number of races, and they're exciting races. So the season's going to start later, but I think it will be just as entertaining.

"I'm pretty optimistic that we can have a good 17-18 race championship or more," he said. "I think we can squeeze them in. But it depends on when the season will start."

The rescheduling is likely to mean a number of triple-headers, something the sport was hoping to avoid following the stress of 2018's schedule which saw the French, Austrian and British races held on successive weekend.

Such a move might allow F1 to reduce the race weekends to two days, something Brawn and his bosses have promoted for some time.

"One thing we have been talking about is two-day weekends, and therefore if we have a triple header with two-day weekends, that could be an option," he said.

"I think what we need from the teams this year is flexibility, I think they've got to give some scope to do these things, because we are in very unusual circumstances, and we've got to make sure we've got a season that gives a good economic opportunity for the teams.

"For sure we're going to have a quiet start. I'm sure the teams will be flexible to allow us to fit those things in."

Of course, that "flexibility" will need to extend to those fans who have already booked flights, tickets and hotels for races now postponed, cancelled or in serious jeopardy... but the fans rarely get a mention... other than when the sport is paying patronising lip-service to them.

One of the more appalling aspects of the Melbourne debacle was the utter contempt with which fans were treated. Allowing them to arrive at the circuit only to find they were refused admission. Then as they formed a large anxious crowd, all standing in close proximity, wondering what was happening, they were being told that the race would be held behind closed doors due to the fears of the coronavirus and how it is spread by public gatherings.

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Published: 14/03/2020
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