Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

F1 considering February date for 2020 finale – one month before new season starts

2020 F1 season

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The 2020 F1 season could be extended until February next year, meaning it would finish one month before the new championship begins, RaceFans has learned.

The radical calendar change is being considered to maximise the number of races that can be run in the current season, which has been badly disrupted by the global pandemic. The first eight races of this year have already been postponed and six are seeking replacement slots on this year’s schedule.

Pre-season testing could be dispensed with for 2021 as teams have agreed to continue using their 2020 chassis again next year. This means the majority of teams’ cars will be largely unchanged, although McLaren will have to integrate a new Mercedes power unit into its car.

F1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey indicated this week the championship is considering major changes to the schedule in order to fit in as many races as possible. “The season end date will extend beyond our original end date of 27-29th November,” he said, “with the actual sequence and schedule dates for races differing significantly from our original 2020 calendar.”

The season is currently set for its latest-ever start at the Canadian Grand Prix on June 14th. F1 has already brought forward its usual summer break from August.

The sport is also considering whether to extend the factory shutdown period further into the hiatus at the start of the season. This would limit teams’ opportunity to develop their cars, which would help them cut costs at a time when budgets are under severe pressure.

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AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost said this week the shutdown may have to be extended if some teams are not able to return to their bases when the current period ends.

Countries have imposed different restrictions on working which may prevent some teams from resuming their activities once the F1 shutdown ends. Ferrari closed its factory in Italy almost two weeks ago, while most of the British teams began closing their operations this week.

Tost is concerned some teams could be left at a disadvantage if they are unable to resume work when others do.

“During our last video conference between team principals, the FIA and Liberty Media we agreed that in mid-April we would – if the situation permits – convene again to discuss the new situation,” he told Motorsport-Magazin.

“If the teams in England are not granted permission to work, then our shutdown will be extended. We will have to see how it is legislated from country to country.

“It cannot be that certain teams are permitted to work and others not. That is force majeure. It will have to arranged equitably so that all teams have the same shutdown period to ensure that there is no imbalance.”

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20 comments on “F1 considering February date for 2020 finale – one month before new season starts”

  1. That’s a good and ambitious plan by Liberty. Definitely a smart idea to drop pre-season testing (oh, McLaren!)

    Let’s hope the world improves in the coming weeks and months to be able to put a proper start date on this.

  2. How is covid diffusion on Canada? I mean, wouldnt we expect surge in Canada when the weather gets hotter there? The simple fact that is in June do not prevent it to be affected by the virus.

    1. Based on March 27, Quebec seems to have the most cases, and that is where Montreal is located. Here is the link:

      1. Indeed. Montreal is “reporting” the highest number of occurrences in Quebec. I’m very cynical about the actual stats for this. If it’s anything like New York where the media are constantly telling people about the overflowing ERs yet the hospitals are basically empty then it’s all BS. A YouTuber named Jason Goodman regularly streams his visits of NYC Hospitals and talks to medical staff and demonstrates clearly that the media are outright lying. Of course it may all change overnight the way this virus spreads. That may not be the case with Montreal but who knows? In any case whether it’s all legit or not means nothing because the race is probably already compromised because of the lockdown. Motorists are even being stopped at the Quebec-Onrtario border for questioning about their reasons for being in their car at a time like this. I AM more cynical than most it seems and I find this completely insane.

    2. I think the situation for Canada is not looking great. The big question now is whether it’s going to be possible to hold the series of European races up to Hungary in August. Lose those and it’s a massive chunk of the season gone.

    3. Its a myth that hot weather gets rid of the virus, right now nobody knows if the virus will go away in warm weather. I live in the Dominican Republic and we have a lot of cases here and its still spreading so I doubt warm weather will stop the virus

  3. Let’s just say for the sake of the argument that all (or the majority of) the European races +Canada are canceled due to Covid-19, the season starts after the original summer break and ends in February 2021. How many of these canceled European races (and Canada) can be held after October-November, let alone in the winter? None…

    The only ones that can be held in that timeframe are Bahrain and Vietnam. Australia was canceled completely, China in the winter is also cold, maybe it could be held in November and push Abu Dhabi later… So 3 “new” races after the original season finale after all.

    So if every European race is dropped and the season started in September we could end up with a calendar like this:
    Singapore – Russia – Japan – USA ? – Mexico – Brazil – China – Vietnam – Bahrain – Abu Dhabi …9-10 races after all.

    1. @black They need 8 for an international championship, so that would still work (although extremely sub-optimally for Liberty).

  4. Let’s wait how the situation will shape up, the season’s most probable start date is August in my opinion. Hungarian race can be moved to the end of the month with Belgium and maybe other European venues following. Can’t say which exaclty but I’m afraid we might lose Silverstone, Barcelona, Monza and Paul Ricard (sorry not sorry) altogether since those countries might be badly hit by the pandemics. Extension of the season into 2021 probably counts on geographic characteristics of each venue, so I could imagine Austin, Mexico, Vietnam, Singapore, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi happening from December to February, that would actually be feasible. And we would get some space to reschedule Baku, Austria, Canada and possibly Netherlands, who knows.

    1. jamesluke2488
      28th March 2020, 17:25

      As Silverstone is so close to most of the factories can see this been the season opener in August, why move Hungary when you can move Silverstone, which is a bigger race and logistically makes sense rather than shipping teams across Europe.

    2. Actually the worst hit countries (Italy, Spain) will probably be the first to achieve herd immunity and to perhaps consider holding mass events again. Other than that, no country is going to do it, excepting one or two middle eastern dictatorship and then only without spectators.

      I don’t know why we keep having these conversations about holding events during or after the summer when we know a vaccine is more than a year away. What miracle do people expect to happen to make the virus scare go away before there’s a vaccine and/or herd immunity?

  5. If they’re leaving it that late why not a little more and restore Melbourne to the 2020 calendar by having back to back race weekends with 2020 finale and start of 2021.

  6. How’s that gonna work weather wise? You can’t race in Europe or most of Asia in December/January.

    I think they are talking nonsense. Until things settle, they are just trying to keep everyone sort of interested. Much better to just wait and say nothing.

    1. @fer-no65 Only Brazil, Australia, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Vietnam, Singapore (although these are the months with the most precipitation there), and Mexico could hold their races within the Northern Hemisphere winter months temperature-wise. However, COTA/Austin can be ideally warm as well. Last January and February, there were many days when the highest ambient temp was in the 20s, but also more than a handful of days with less than 15 C or even in the single-digits, so would be risky.

  7. The problem they are likely going to have is that travel restrictions to various country’s are likely going to be in place well into the latter half of 2020 & possibly remaining in place into 2021.

    Reason been that all the self isolation, social distancing & lockdown’s various country’s have put in place are going to be good for slowing/stopping the spread of the virus but the rate at which this happens will vary from country to country. If for example the Belgium government reaches a point where it feels safe allowing events to be held in the country thus opening the door for the Belgium Gp to take place, If you still have cases in the UK, Italy etc… where F1 teams, personnel & drivers need to travel from you could be faced with travel from those places still been restricted to avoid a secondary outbreak that is brought in by people traveling from outside the country (Something China are apparently seeing now in places).

    I think anyone thinking things will be back to normal this year or even next are underestimating things as the impression I get is that things won’t be ‘normal’ for a few years.

  8. My employer, a large global company of 100k+ people, is currently working on an assumption international travel for business purposes will be frozen til May 2021.

    F1 needs to see the writing on the wall for the 2020 season and just cancel the whole thing. 2021 for the 2020 season, then 2022 for the new regs etc as planned. The world will not be ready for the travelling circus before Christmas – certainly not with having fans in the grandstands anyway.

    1. Agree, JC… however… desperate times (and share price) require desperate PR campaigns.

    2. Good analysis JC, totally agree. There is also the fact that we are heading into a world wide recession and I seriously doubt spending (in the US of A) $1000 to go to a race is going to be a first choice of funds usage….. Here in the US people are still in denial about the seriousness of this disease. Unfortunately the US is now #1 in cases and the deaths are soon going to follow. Where I live, in Washington state (near Vancouver B.C.), we are shutting down pretty much everything. We are seeing cases double in three to four days and the curve is certainly exponential so the worst is to come. We are not aided by our stupid leader.

      Here’s a bit of music on youtube, worth a listen!

  9. ”For a number of reasons having a 2020-21 ‘super season’ isn’t possible & as I said a few days ago it’s something that’s already been ruled out.
    For starters you have Mclaren switching to Mercedes engine’s next year something they have already confirmed they are going ahead with. Would it be fair if that switch fundamentally changed there competitiveness mid-season, For example if there in a close fight with say racing point but suddenly pull a big gap due to finding extra performance from the Mercedes engine & potentially even affect the title fight at the front by getting between Mercedes & Red Bull/Ferrari.
    Additionally you have driver contracts that end at the end of this year as well as various other supply contracts & other financial arrangements which couldn’t simply be extended.
    My understanding is that if no races have been run by August with little hope of been able to run at least 8 by the end of 2020 then the 2020 season will be cancelled & they will shift the focus on getting the 2021 calendar organised & hope things will be improved enough by then to be able to run races.”


    1. BTW, Abu Dhabi GP in February would have to start an hour later than in November due to later sunset times.

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