F1 boss Chase Carey’s pledge as chiefs plan to salvage 2020 season from coronavirus crisis

F1 bigwig Chase Carey has insisted fans will not be deprived of a 2020 season despite the coronavirus pandemic already seeing eight races called off. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix became the latest sporting victim of the pandemic on Monday, with Baku chiefs deciding to postpone June 7’s race following consultations with F1, the FIA and the Azerbaijani government.

The race in Azerbaijan joined the Australian, Bahrain, Vietnam, Chinese, Dutch, Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix in being axed from the schedule.

As it stands, only 14 races remain on the 2020 calendar but the opening up of three weekends in August, the possibility of running two-day race weekends and extending the season beyond the current November 29 end date might mean some of those postponed can be rescheduled.

Carey has now laid out F1’s intentions going forward and pledged that 15-18 races will happen in 2020.

After the Azerbaijan Grand Prix postponement was announced, Carey said: “Over the past week, Formula 1, the ten F1 teams and the FIA have come together and taken rapid, decisive action as part of our initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“While at present no-one can be certain of exactly when the situation will improve, it will improve and when it does, we will be ready to go racing again. We are all committed to bringing our fans a 2020 Championship Season.

“We recognise there is significant potential for additional postponements in currently scheduled events, nonetheless we and our partners fully expect the season to start at some point this summer, with a revised calendar of between 15-18 races.

“As previously announced we will utilise the summer break being brought forward to March/April to race during the normal summer break period, and anticipate the season end date will extend beyond our original end date of 27-29th November, with the actual sequence and schedule dates for races differing significantly from our original 2020 calendar.

“It is not possible to provide a more specific calendar now due to the fluidity of the current situation but we expect to gain clearer insights to the situation in each of our host countries, as well as the issues related to travel to these countries, in the coming month.

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“With the benefit of the FIA’s announcement and agreement in principle to freeze technical regulations throughout 2021, no summer break and factory shut downs being moved forward to March / April the sport now intends to race through the period normally set aside for the summer break and fulfil lost events from the first part of this year.

“This flexibility offers an opportunity to evolve the sport, experiment and try new things. That may include initiatives such as expanding our esports platform, developing more innovative content like Netflix’s Drive to Survive, and other creative ways to drive ongoing value for the sport’s sponsor partners, broadcast partners, race promoters, teams and fans – the ecosystem of our fantastic sport.

“Between Formula 1, the teams and the FIA, working with our key stakeholders, we are planning and fully committed to returning to the track at the earliest opportunity to commence the 2020 season. We will continue to take advice from health officials and experts, as our first priority continues to be the safety and health of our fans, the communities we visit and those within the Formula 1 family.

“We’re confident we’ll all get through this and see better days, ahead, and, when we do, we will ensure that everyone invested in this sport at every level feels rewarded. Best wishes, Chase.”

As it stands, the Canadian Grand Prix on June 14 is set to be the first race of the 2020 F1 campaign.

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