Formula One season start in July 'very optimistic', says Mark Webber

JOE KRISHNAN
Getty Images

Ex-Formula One driver Mark Webber has played down suggestions that the 2020 season could start in July as "very, very optimistic".

The first eight rounds of the new campaign have either been cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with proceedings yet to get underway.

The decision to suspend the start of the 2020 season came just hours before the Australian Grand Prix race weekend was due to begin in Melbourne, with McLaren and Mercedes both withdrawing from the race due to fears over the safety of their staff.

Webber, who quit the sport in 2013 after nine race wins in his 12-year career, believes it is unlikely the season will begin in July, with the British Grand Prix under threat of cancellation.

"It's a ginormous headache because Formula 1 is an extraordinary, fast-moving business," he said in an interview with Precision Hydration.

"It's a global sport, freight is an issue and logistically it's one of the most challenging sports. They're looking at around July but I still think that is very, very optimistic.

"Formula One, with the travelling circus and even TV which requires huge production teams, faces a big challenge.

"They're looking at condensing the weekends to two days from three days and I think that's a great idea to help get some events in without rushing them through."

Former Red Bull star Mark Webber (centre) is sceptical that a July start is possible (Getty Images)

The Australian, who raced for Red Bull and Williams before heading for the Porsche GT Championship, described the chaos after deciding to ride on his bike to attend the Grand Prix.

"As the week got deeper, it became obvious the event could not take place," he said. "It was extraordinary, the drivers were going home. That's when it hits between the eyes and you know it's unbelievably serious.

"It just hits home when something at that short notice and is unprecedented comes. Never have I seen anything like that in my life."

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