Ecclestone: Scrap the 2020 season

30/03/2020
NEWS STORY

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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Published: 30/03/2020
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