Bernie Ecclestone, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Call off the 2020 F1 season? Ecclestone and Mosley have got it wrong

2020 F1 season

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For over 30 years they presided over Formula in lockstep. Thus, after former F1 tsar F1 Bernie Ecclestone suggested to reputable outlets such as Reuters and the BBC that the 2020 F1 season should be cancelled, to many it was simply a matter of time before similar comments were heard from ex-FIA president Max Mosley.

He was Ecclestone’s friend since the late seventies, and negotiated the original 1981 Concorde Agreement for him. In the process they dragged a once amateurish sport onto the professional stage.

The next step was to gain the keys to the top floor of the FIA’s presidential palace in Paris, achieved in 1993 after Mosley had spent two years as head of motorsport’s governing body, FISA. Once firmly ensconced at the building overlooking the place de la Concorde, they devised the sale of F1’s commercial rights, with Ecclestone being the recipient.

How the original 10-year deal morphed into 113 years at the same price is a tale for another day; suffice to say, Ecclestone paid $313 million for a deal estimated to be worth at least 10 times that, even at 1998 levels. The rights were variously moved on at ever-increasing values – the last time at an enterprise valuation of $8 billion – with Ecclestone each time remaining in control of what he considered to be his personal fiefdom.

Fans, Paul Ricard, 2019
Ricard is scheduled to start the season – but looks unlikely to
Until, that is, 2017, when Liberty Media acquired control from CVC Capital Partners. Ecclestone was unceremoniously “booted upstairs with a fancy title”, as he termed his ‘promotion’ to chairman emeritus, a sort of “don’t call us, we’ll call you” function. The calls, of course, never came, and thus Ecclestone seemingly has cause to act mischievously on occasion, his pot shots usually aimed squarely at Liberty.

As expected, Mosley, who chose to exit the FIA in 2009 when his term expired after showdowns over both his private life and with teams, this week joined the chorus, telling the Deutsche Presse-Agentur that F1 should cancel the 2020 season. “Waiting risks making things worse with no certainty of gain,” he said. “There is no guarantee that racing can start again in July, indeed it looks increasingly unlikely.”

While it is all too easy for (multi) millionaires – particularly those who struck the sale of F1’s commercial rights in the first place – to make such calls, is it all feasible for F1 to simply shut up shop until next season? Ecclestone and Mosley surely realise this is a global business turning over a combined $4bn and directly employing upwards of 10,000 people (and many multiples of that figure indirectly).

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The pair, ex-F1 team owners both before switching focus to running the sport, fully understand that F1 teams derive income from two primary sources, namely sponsors and so-called FOM revenues, namely income generated by the commercial rights holder via race promoter fees, TV rights income and hospitality/marketing. Sponsors pay for exposure and association, be it trackside or on TV.

Thus, it follows that no races equals no income for teams, whose overheads average hundreds of millions (in any currency) per year. For every trackside head there may be on average 10 employees back at base, each with mouths to feed and mortgages to service. Ecclestone and Mosley have millions (or even billions) of reasons to not worry about their next meals, but for many of those working in F1 their monthly income will be vital.

Equally, the sport needs to return to action, not least for its legions of fans and for the sake of the many businesses who supply the sport with commodities ranging from food and beverages through software, components and trade products.

For better or for worse, F1 is listed on NASDAQ as an indirect result of that original commercial rights deal which, much as Mosley may argue that it was an FIA council decision, occurred under his watch and saw his close friend of many years benefit hugely. Thus Liberty has a fiduciary duty to ensure the interests of shareholders are best served, which they most certainly would not be were F1 put on ice, as he suggests.

Jean Todt, Singapore, 2019
Todt took over from Mosley in charge of the FIA
Finally, Mosley’s comment that F1 should use the forced hiatus “to put it on a much sounder financial footing for the future” seems somewhat churlish given that the rights deal deprived teams of much of F1’s income in the first place. Before the deal was struck they shared 80%, which dropped to 23% before gradually rising to a sliver under 70%, most notably under the watch of the current FIA president Jean Todt.

The fact is that F1 is as much a global consumer activity as is any other global business, and were Mosley and Ecclestone to suggest that other industries shut their doors for the rest of this year they’d be rightly ridiculed, not least by legions of workers and their dependents, many of whom face uncertainty. Would such a suggestion be taken seriously if Ecclestone and Mosley had not once headed F1?

Asked by DPA what advice he could give his successor, Mosley said he was “out of touch with F1” and had no “inside knowledge.” From his response it is unclear whether Mosley was referring to himself or Todt. But it surely could not be applied to Todt, given his efforts to restructure F1 in the wake of the pandemic and prepare it for a return at the earliest safe opportunity.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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  • 53 comments on “Call off the 2020 F1 season? Ecclestone and Mosley have got it wrong”

    1. Actually calling off 2020 season isnt too far fetched given how situation is still developing.

      1. If Florida defines WWE as an essential business, then why not have an F1 race (behind closed doors) in other places, Chaitanya.

        Sweden, Belarus, and North Korea (interesting list) are still open for business.
        And a ‘well-regulated militia’ with ‘the right to bear arms’ will take control of ‘the security of a free state’ to allow races in the USofA.

      2. It does indeed seem to be the case that a lot of people are still rather pessimistic about the chances of any races being held, given the questions over the point at which it becomes impractical for races to be scheduled or for the logistical constraints to be overcome.

        As others have noted, we are not going to instantly rebound to a situation where everything is as it was before this outbreak – it’s going to be a case of a slow reversal of those measures. Restrictions on travel and on mass gatherings are likely to persist for a significant period of time, so even closed door events could be a problem for some time.

        Furthermore, there have been legitimate questions asked about potential scenarios – if an individual were to become infected, holding multiple races in close proximity is a potential recipe for that one individual to then potentially infect a large number of people before exhibiting symptoms themselves.

        An even worse scenario would be if a race were to take place, only to then create a hotspot of covid-19 infections if somebody within the sport were to then infect others, such as a marshal – that scenario would almost certainly result in other countries shutting their doors to the sport for an extended period of time and considerable reputational damage to the sport.

        Whilst, on the one hand, Dieter argues that there is a certain necessity for races to go ahead to ensure income continues to come in, that has to be balanced against the risks of dealing with the fallout from something going wrong and the compromises which need to be made in order for those events to be held. Where the balance between those sides lie, time will tell – but, right now, the likelihood that any withdrawal of restrictions is likely to take place over months means the sport could be hard pressed to carry out races and the season might have to be cancelled by default.

        As an aside, it is worth noting that there are actually other international racing series which are cancelling their 2020 seasons altogether. The World Endurance Championship, for example, has been running a season split over two years – the most recent one being the 2019-2020 season.

        However, the races which were left in the 2019-2020 races are currently suspended – meanwhile, the races which would have been held in late 2020 at the start of the 2020-2021 season have been cancelled altogether, meaning their next season will not start until March 2021 at the earliest.

        1. All that said, I sum it up that while it may seem hard to imagine what any kind of a season will look like at this point, and they won’t really know until time and events unfold that will dictate what can be done, it is certainly not time to call it on the season at this point. There would be no need. It’s such an unknown right now, and if the teams all agree to try to run some races this year there are still many months in the year ahead yet. I’m sure they are half expecting to have to call the season off, but they don’t have to make that decision now. What’s the saying…hope for the best, plan for the worst. For now we/they can still hope for the best, as we are already all doing that for all of our health and economic benefit globally anyway. Fingers crossed that F1 will be able to do something this year, for that to me will indicate the globe will be healing and many many things will start to open up as soon as is prudently possible.

          1. @robbie the thing is, even with stripped down crews, you are still talking about needing pretty large numbers of people to be present in order for the event to go ahead.

            By way of comparison, MotoGP have been running a similar exercise to see how far they could strip the size of the teams down for the combined MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 paddock. In that case, even by stripping the teams down by about 40-50%, you’re still talking about 1,500 people in the paddock – that doesn’t account for the staff that the circuit has to provide or for media personnel who might be required.

            Now, Dieter’s made his own suggestions that F1 might need comparable numbers of staff – albeit that the organisers for Baku suggested it’d be higher, though as a temporary circuit there may be additional staff required for assembling the facilities that aren’t required for permanent tracks.

            As an aside, MotoGP does also have a comparable length season as well – 20 races – and has a calendar of comparable length to F1 as well. It seems that, right now, they think the best case scenario might be starting in August – potentially also in Austria – and 10 races at most in 2020, although 6 is maybe more realistic.

            At the very least, the talk that F1 has had of trying to cram so many races in seems rather optimistic, given that MotoGP is talking about maybe getting 30-50% of their races at best – and that assumes that nations will be prepared to allow closed door events despite having that many people in fairly close proximity to each other.

          2. All major sporting event and tournaments have cancelled, that include the Olympics.
            Yet good olf F1, nah, lets not cancel just yet, lets see what happens.
            They will not have an affective vaccine for Covid 19 this side of Christmas, therefore, even after the virus peaks in every country, travel to and from England and Italy, into Europe will further transmit the virus.
            Theres a reason governments have restricted all travel, because it’s clear that even people that have tested negative and transmit the virus.
            Dont believe that?
            The UK had no infection.
            The UK government allowed people after testing that were negative, to return from China and Italy.
            Inside 1 week, there were people displaying Covid 19 symptoms.
            Now tell the families of those who have dies that it’s OK to travel.

          3. It’s not up to the teams, FOM or FIA to decide if races go ahead.
            Governments will decide if and how we come out of lockdown and different countries will have different plans and schedules for this.
            At the end of the day F1 is just an entertainment business and a very small portion of any one countries economy.
            It will be a low priority item on any ministers agenda and naturally fall towards the end of the list.

            1. Exactly and given the way the FIA handled Australia it’s probably just as well. It really doesn’t matter what anyone says Bernie Max or Jean Todt countries will have the final say.

    2. Fine number crunching, but I don’t think it’s such a crazy idea… and given their comments in recent days about double headers, racing behind closed doors, crambling an 18 race calendar into a few months and what’s not, it’s a reality they don’t really know what will happen and the days keep counting.

      Sure it’s going to complicate things economically, but what business is safe this days during the pandemic? heck, they might start buying plane tickets only for the airline to disappear…

    3. Bernie and Max damaged F1 as much as they benefitted it.

      1. Not just F1, within that infamous deal, we lost most of our regular weekly motorsport on tv in the UK with the exclusive deals supposedly made to ensure F1 was almost the only motorsport on tv for several years.
        Until the first EU Commission complaint things were even worse than now.

        (Playing AP) Unfortunately in business there is always a point at which you have to pay or play or give up. Liberty are beholden to their shareholders. If they produce no income this season it may be more economical for the Liberty empire to shut the F1 group down. No doubt Bernie could then buy it back for tuppence after bankruptcy (About the real instant value when Liberty bought F1, including the 2Bn or more of debt)

      2. yep, yesterday’s men trying to keep their names in the “paper” (which is ironic given the amount of effort Max spends trying to keep his name out of the “paper”).

    4. As long as the heads of Liberty and FIA keep talking about business as usual, with the only concession being an audience lockout, then Bernie and Max are on a winner.
      To hold any race this year* not only the number of people at risk has to be minimised but the risk itself has to be minimised, this means changes to the format will be necessary so as to reduce to a bare minimum the number of people needed in the pits and around the track, that number will have to be small enough to allow “social distancing” and duties light enough to allow full protective clothing to be worn by all involved, and it will have to be seen to be safe in order for authorities to allow it to happen. Flying a thousand people around the world will not be acceptable any time soon.

      * Possible exception being a “North Korean GP”

    5. Sure they should run the season, if they have that opportunity. But cramming as many races as possible into short timeframe? It may make some sense commercially as far as charging the hosting fees, etc… but I am not one of those fans who would want to absorb six races in three weeks span. I want to enjoy the racing, not see it in a blur. But of course, many people are facing tough decisions these days and deserve better. We will have to wait and see where it all goes.

    6. Wouldn’t be surprised if 2021 is called off as well.

    7. But it surely could not be applied to Todt, given his efforts to restructure F1 in the wake of the pandemic and prepare it for a return at the earliest safe opportunity.

      This sounds interesting. Was there an article on this?

      1. It must be referring to this tweet linked in today’s round-up, @drycrust.

        There is also a small hint at compensation part of the deal FIA struck with Ferrari (partly revealed under the laptop).

        1. There is also a small hint at compensation part of the deal FIA struck with Ferrari (partly revealed under the laptop).

          @coldfly – well, @jerejj and you both have sharp eyesight to have caught that :)

          1. Or we are simply extremely bored ;)

    8. Great idea Bernie. When should we expect your cheque to arrive to pay the teams to take a year off?

    9. Jose Lopes da Silva
      18th April 2020, 14:53

      The FIA should have kept control of the sport the same way FIFA always did. I don’t miss those guys for a single second, nor I care about what they say. The Western World is starting to claim a reopening to keep the economy flowing, as those right-wing businessmen want F1 to close? Seriously?

      Start racing as soon as possible. Make double-header F1 race weekends. Make 3 races in Silverstone. Open and close the season in the Red Bull Ring. Come to Portugal, where there are two Grade 1 tracks. Go to Magny-Cours. In September and October, go to Italy and Spain, where there are plenty of Grade 1 tracks. Go to Hockenheim and Nurburgring.

      For the Christ’s sake! Complaints about the engine sounds, the monkey drivers, the stewards. And now complaints about how to react to a pandemic!

      Thank God that Mosley and Ecclestone were not in charge of Britain in 1940!

      1. same way FIFA always did.

        Not a very aspiring benchmark, Jose.

        1. José Lopes da Silva
          18th April 2020, 18:25

          It is what it is, @coldfly. I don’t think F1 got much more transparent and clean by giving the commercial rights, first to the “clubs”, and then to an investment firm. I was talking about very-long-term control and managing of the sport, not about business ethics. I never considered mixing “Ecclestone” and “business ethics” in the same thinking.

    10. Some racing…any racing, is better than no racing. I’m sure that there are safe methods albeit ,maybe different methods but let’s just get going.

      1. Thank you, Let them race if they can. If it isn’t possible, OK. But at least try. All of this “End the season” is slightly premature. If you don’t want to watch, don’t watch.

      2. yeh, let them race, let all the sports that have cancelled continue.
        let all thos people travel from England, into europe and world wide and spread the virus even more, even after it’s reached it’s peak and continue to spread the virus.
        Yeh, that’s really sensible!

    11. What is Andreas Seidl’s view?

    12. Even a race behind closed doors is unlikely. A thousand team crew in the pit lane, a few hundred more for marshalls, timers, FIA officials etc, and another couple of hundred for camera crews and commentators, etc. There’s simply no way to run an F1 race with just a few people practicing social distancing. And this assumes that host and home governments will allow foreigners in and out. And that all the teams agree to race.

      There won’t be any racing until either nations give up on the idea of lockdown (because they’re going broke), or a vaccine is available.

      1. @rsp123 Not only the team staff and other people in the paddocks and pit lanes such as the FIA and FOM-personnel, and as you pointed out, timers, marshalls, TV-crew, commentators, and other media, etc., but also medical people, and probably even police to a certain extent would be needed to hold an F1 GP-event, definitely more than a handful of people within the same secluded are even without anyone on the grandstands, hence, challenging if not next-to-impossible to hold an F1 race with any type of lockdown in place.

        1. You’re on the money here. It’s not about what logistics F1 can pull together, it’s about what governments do about their borders. And the idea of a traveling circus going country to country “cos it’s what the fans want!” won’t rub when it comes to public health.

          I despised Bernie when he ran f1, the man is mad. But, he’s right here. Carey and, in particular, Brawn, seem to have little grip on reality when it comes to a global pandemic.

        2. @jerejj, Time to google up video of F1 races pre 1970’s and see how small a team could be, you don’t need rose-tinted spectacles to see the possibilities. It should be possible to run a race so that everyone is safer (from Covid 19) than they would be buying groceries at the supermarket.

      2. At last, someone else that sees the reality of this.
        A minimum of 200 per team, 10 teams, thats 2000 people travelling to and from venues with a very high risk of transmitting the virus.
        Then all those that need to be at every event.
        Spot on.
        I’ve been saying it for weeks.
        Every sport even has cancelled, all except F1.
        This is about money and greed not keeping the sport going.

      3. Every one has an opinion and that is understandable given the gravity of the pandemic. What i don’t see is any positivity insofar as, we have a problem, let’s search for solutions. If you dwell on the negatives nothing will happen. I am of the opinion, as i said in my earlier post, racing administration would most likely have to change but I’m sure tht it’s possible. ATM the reality is that there are too many barriers for racing to begin but that shouldn’t in any way diminish the chances of racing behind closed doors if that what it takes to get the season started.

    13. They called more right than wrong over their years. But, the sub-text really is – either get on with it or cancel the season. Cancelling would trigger insurance & cover some costs. While cobbling a season together may or may not succeed.

    14. It will be very irresponsible to go racing when we will still be struggling to contain the spread of this unstoppable killing disease. Can you imagine a driver having a serious accident and needing to go to hospital for treatment whilst they still have virus stricken patients fighting for their lives? There are far more important things than business Mr Rencken and you flipping well know it.

      1. Here here. Didn’t even think about the hospital idea.

      2. And that happens how often ? Perhaps motorcars should be banned altogether.

        1. Why do you think governments world wide have placed a restriction on travel?
          Mmmmm…I wonder why?
          Could it be that vehicle of anykind could be transmitting the virus, not just people, after all, they still dont know enough about the virus, they still dont know how long it lasts outside the human body.
          They are still only guessing.
          I wonder how the UK got infected….?
          Now let me see, could it be that people returning from China and Italy, even after being tested negative, brought it back in them, on them, in their luggage, in the plane, into the airport upon arrival, in their cars to go home……

        2. @hohum Well that’s the point in the UK at least. You can only use your car for ‘essential travel’ like getting food and medicines. Driving loops around a circuit isn’t essential travel, unless they have to pick up groceries en route. Might be interesting.

          1. @john-h, Sure but Silverstone is not a public road, surely there are still some business’ operating, of course convincing authorities will be the hardest task.

        3. @HoHum – Yes. Interesting analogy to ban motorcars. As this ‘disease’ that’s actually a virus has a similar fatality rate in terms of a population percentage as a motor car accident. But based on to this point that more people can get infected than can or do drive. So, pre-social-distancing, it was the equivalent of driving without seatbelts & traffic lights. Yet now, with safety measures in place, hospital preparedness & therapeutics, these are ridiculous scenarios that people dream up to justify their fear. I suppose if the media showed car accidents 24/7 nobody would want to ever drive again either.

    15. The funny thing is that we all know that the Ecclestone who was running F1 a few years ago would have used everything in his power (and then some) to make the season happen. It’s odd that he now pretends he thinks it’s better to just cancel the whole season.

    16. John Richards (@legardforpresident)
      19th April 2020, 2:36

      There’ll always be a pro-F1 bias; both in this site and amongst the fanbase, naturally. But as much as I’d love for the season to resume; heck, as much as I’d like the world to go back to normal, it just can’t; at least not this year for sure. Economies are shrinking by nearly 6%. Spending power is naturally going to be reduced; throwing in the $100 dollars for F1 Tv Pro seems so unfeasible in such a state. Now we can all crib and complain about how tone deaf Mr. E’s comments are. But realistically, how likely are we to race this year? In the grand scheme of things, F1 is the last thing we should worry about in a post-covid world. As long as there’s no vaccine for Covid-19, bringing in large amounts of fans from around the world, to sit huddled for 90 minutes in a hot and humid grandstand is a recipe for disaster. Logistically as well, it just seems so unrealistic. With hopsitals over-burdened, the last thing you’d want is a calamity arising from an unnecessary sporting event.

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        19th April 2020, 8:21

        The economies must be kept going on, as possible. Several European countries are slowly opening. We can’t stop until there’s a vaccine and herd immunity.

        And please note that I’m writing as a liberal, leftist, progressive, commie, politically correct, socialist, Brusselphile, etc., whatever people with the right values want to call me.

      2. At last someone else that sees sense.
        Seeing, hearing and reading what the FIA, Liberty Media and the teams want, it’s almost as if they think theyre immune and none of whats happening world wide applies to them.
        Elite track and field athletes have worked toward a goal of competing at the Olympics, that isnt going to happen. Some of those athletes will miss their ‘window’ of Olympic gold, yet F1 thinks that it can carry one!
        There’s only one way this madness will end and that is if someone steps in and says no, you cannot travel, a travel ban is a travel ban unless essential, and F1 isnt essential.

    17. I’m with Bernie and Max. Call of the season. Fine if we can get some non-championship races behind closed doors that generate some revenue, get some industry moving, etc. that would be the best we can hope for. I’ve seen Ross talk about all team members being tested before travelling to venues, this makes sense.

      We can’t call it an F1 season though.

      1. No racing should happen.
        The risk, even in 3 – 4 months time of spreading the virus, will still be high, even after it’s peak, given the areas they insist they’ll race, England and Europe!
        All the teams bar 3 are based in England, those 3 plus Pirelli are based in Italy (Alpha Tauri even worse because their HQ is slap bang in the middle of the worst infected are of Italy)
        With no vaccine available, itll be the end of the year that a viable one is available, travelling is still going to spread the virus.
        Unnecessary travel, which F1 most definitely is, to and from England and Europe by air or road cannot happen until there are no more new reported cases or deaths from the virus for at least 1 month, otherwise there is a huge risk of spreading the virus and reinfecting areas that were recovering.
        Just think of the minimum amounts of people that will need to go?
        If they limited it to 200 per team, that alone is 2000 people just for the teams.
        Then you need to staff, marshals etc at the circuit for safety (think about how many marshal decend on a car at each recovery point around a circuit – 5 at each point – Then those in and around the pits – a minimum of 400 people and thats without medical staff!
        Even behind closed doors an absolute bare minimum of about 3000 people will be needed and that’s without those that are needed back at the factories these days so you can add at least another 50 per team thats at least another 500 people – about 3500 just for one race at one venue, and the FIA, Liberty Media and the teams are willing to risk the health of everyone of those to hold just one race, then add the risk of just one person with the virus in a team!
        One person is known to infect two!
        You dont need to be Einstein to see how many potential infected people there would be.
        If there were proof needed just look at how quickly the UK got infected once they allowed negative tested people to return from China and Italy.
        there is no way on this earth that they can allow the movement/travel of that amount of people with such a high risk of spreading the virus, even in a couple of months time.
        I’m a lifelong F1 supporter, I want to se the teams race, but not at the expense of people and the possible threat to life just to keep the FIA, Liberty media and the teams pockets full.

    18. Do the sensible thing, call the season off now, and allow everyone to focus on next year.

    19. There’s a number of problems for F1 at the moment as there is for pretty much every sport up to and including the Olympics.

      As much as I’d love to see racing this year, I don’t want to see some crazy 12 races in 6 weeks or any kind of massively compressed calendar, because if F1 is back, so will a lot of other sports and entertainment avenues that I’d also want to look at or participate in. I just can’t see myself, or many others, wanting to spend every weekend watching one or two F1 races to the exclusion of everything else.

      Dieter has given a good rundown of the commercial realities, but in reality, those commercial realities are no different than they are for a huge number of businesses, large and small, here in Australia and indeed across a large part of the world. Every business has the same concerns, every employee in those businesses has the same concerns. In turn, many Governments are introducing support packages to try to assist those businesses and employees affected.

      I’m wondering whether in fact it might be far better for all businesses concerned if F1 actually did cancel the entire 2020 season and give all teams and supporting businesses that certainty so they can seek support from their respective governments rather than pretend that they are still in business this year. At the moment I doubt that this “business as usual” approach is doing anyone any favours at all, and in fact could be damaging the chances of some in terms of getting access to Government provided support.

      1. If F1 cancelled the season for the year and demanded governments fund them instead, would football and rugby clubs not to do the same, race courses, running tracks, gyms and ancillary services? Would other ‘audience’ businesses do the same, golf courses, museums also stop and demand their home government covered their annual losses? Holiday destinations, casinos, restaurants, cafes, bars, are all audience driven. Would they be funded for a year?

        The current UK lockdown is costing the taxpayer in various support programmes up to 70 billion for three months. And it is all borrowed with the future consequences. To do what you are suggesting would cost many times that amount as what is provided for F1 would need to be provided to other businesses in the same position.

        Is there enough money in the world?

        1. Is there enough money in the world?

          Yes, there is. Before it required more trees and more printers. But, now it’s just electrons. Universe has plenty spare electrons to go round. Enough to satisfy corporate greed? Maybe not, but still…

    20. The lockdowns are there to slow, not stop, the infection rate so that there is no chance of overwhelming heath services. Until there is a useful vaccine or cure those infections will continue but, all the governments hope, at a much lower rate.

      The conundrum is that an effective vaccine will be unlikely until the late autumn at the earliest when the flu season starts and Covid19 will potentially come roaring back. Economies can’t be closed down for a year, countries would collapse. People are already finding the psychological and social strain of the lockdown. So a way has to be found out of this situation. And soon. Which is why Spain, Denmark, Austria etc are easing up on it already.

      The likely way forward is summer weather, masks, mass testing (although that is closing the door after the horse is well across the field), no mass gatherings and personal distancing to continue. And the economy to move into spluttering restart.

      From that I would guess that audiences would not be allowed at races until August at the earliest but from late June/July the participants (including teams, marshals, journalists, security, team caterers and so on) would be able to race as it would be possible to test them all before they travelled or before the event began.

      I still don’t fully understand the economics of races without audiences for promoters or Liberty. The latter would still get the TV rights income if there are 16 races so they seem to be suggesting they would sub the promoters but for how long?

      1. On your last point, due to lack of any sports at the moment, if they could stage a race it would have *huge* viewing figures, the likes of which we have never seen. That’s no reason to do it however.

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