Formula 1 could end up getting close to a full season even if the start of the 2020 campaign is delayed until July.
F1’s Ross Brawn said in an interview posted on the series’ website that the season could contain 18 or 19 races. That is, of course, assuming that Formula 1 can get started this summer. The original F1 calendar had 22 races scheduled for 2020.
“Eight races is the minimum we can have a world championship, [according to] the FIA Statutes,” Brawn said on Formula1.com. “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. 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 - 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.”
Formula 1 has been reluctant to run races on three-straight weekends because of the amount of travel the series does. But it also recognizes that it may need to run as often as it can to get as many races in as possible.
The series typically takes a summer break in August and that’s not happening in 2020. Instead, teams voted to move the annual shop shutdown to this spring while the series isn’t racing.
The Canadian Grand Prix was canceled on Tuesday, meaning the first regularly-scheduled race on the calendar is the French Grand Prix on June 28.
Could the series run without fans to start the season? Brawn said that was on the table.
“We have a race with no spectators. 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.”
The two races that follow the French Grand Prix in July are in Austria and Great Britain. The last scheduled race before the original summer break is in Hungary on Aug. 2.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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