Start lights, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2020

Is it time to give up on holding the 2020 F1 season?

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Race after race has been postponed or cancelled. Whatever Formula 1 races do take place in 2020 are likely to be behind closed doors. But even that may be months away.

Two senior ex-F1 figures have argued it’s time for F1 to give up thoughts of holding a season this year, and to turn its attention to 2021. Are they right – or should F1 continue to try to get its season going?

For

There’s little realistic chance of any races taking place in the near future. The earliest scheduled round in France is at the end of next month, but restrictions on public gathering in the country make it unlikely. The Belgian GP is in doubt too.

The long-term prospects of races taking place is little better. While countries have imposed lockdown measures to prevent the virus’s spread, some restrictions will have to remain as long as there is no vaccine, and that is unlikely to change until next year.

Moreover, while hospitals are under pressure from increased numbers of cases, and tests are rightly being prioritised for those most at risk, F1 cannot risk putting additional strain on those resources.

Against

There are obvious reasons why F1 races cannot take place now or in the short-term. However at some point it will be possible to hold races again, most likely without spectators and with other restrictions.

It’s too early to say that won’t happen this year. So for the time being F1 has to plan accordingly. Each race it has to cancel potentially means millions of pounds lost in hosting fees and television rights. Multiplied over a full season, the financial hit to the sport of cancelling the entire season would be huge.

At present, F1 has nothing to lose by continuing to work to reschedule as much of the 2020 season as it can. Until that changes, it needs to carry on the way it is.

I say

While Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley are the most prominent names to have said the season should be called off, it is also an opinion I’ve seen several times in responses from readers. It’s a view which, I have to say, I find somewhat baffling.

Of course it would be madness to try to hold a race at the moment. Painful though it has been to see, the decisions to cancel and postpone the opening races have been sensible moves. F1 is moving into a new phase now where we begin to see what impact the pandemic will have on the ‘European season’, where races are closer to home for the teams.

This is a rapidly-changing situation. We may be in a much better or much worse position in a month’s time. There’s no pressing need right now to call off races which aren’t due to take place for another seven months, so why do it?



You say

Do you agree the 2020 F1 season should be called off?

Do you agree the 2020 F1 season should be called off?

  • Strongly agree (13%)
  • Slightly agree (9%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (5%)
  • Slightly disagree (19%)
  • Strongly disagree (53%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 191

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 70 comments on “Is it time to give up on holding the 2020 F1 season?”

    1. Lets wait till end of June and see how the situation has evolved around human malware to make final call.

      1. Honestly, it shouldn’t be the summer months F1 needs to worry about (while it’s on the northern hemisphere) but the flu season. There’s growing consensus that we need to be prepared for a second wave that should overlap the flu season as the coronaviruses responsible for these diseases thrived during the colder, more humid months

        1. Exactly. I think the question posed in this article is inadequate. We have to assume there is a possibility of there being no races this year, so the question should be about when to call off the season. My proposal is to hold as many races as possible but not try and shoehorn a championship into the equation. If 7 races are possible then we should have 7 non-championship races. It would be a great opportunity to experiment with formats.

    2. Way to early to be making that call. It’s only the end of April.
      Bernies probably hoping he can buy F1 back cheap if this year is a failure and liberty throw in the towel.

    3. I’m on the fence, and voted accordingly.

      I’d say Liberty and the rest of F1 have to consider the outright cancellation of the season as one possible outcome and plan accordingly (as they are already doing so), but having heard some of the options tabled, it seems like a truncated 2020 season (especially one that runs into Jan/Feb) might be another possibility to keep on the table.

      Unless we have a second round of outbreaks in countries as severe as the first, it seems like economic pressures are going to force the easing of restrictions. And no, I’m not talking about Trump-like absurdities like getting back to work since our capitalist overlords need a bonus, or “vote for me even if you’re dying”, it’s the cold reality that there are people who are losing or have lost their jobs, and are going to be faced with that Sophie’s choice. A prudent government would manage this easing of restrictions in a manner that minimizes the risk involved, and will not ignore the needs of the people.

      That said, I think international travel is going to take a huge hit, and it remains to be seen how many democratic governments would be comfortable with something like the F1 circus travelling around between countries.

    4. I think that it’s not only realistic but also likely that it’ll be OK to race at some point in the year, behind closed door or whatever. I would however suggest to re-phrase the question; Should a limited amount of races count towards a Formula One World Championship?

      I’d say probably not. Lets do a set of non-championship races and move on to 2021 for the real deal.

      1. What do we mean by limited? The first seasons had a total of 7-8 races. Even in 1990, only the 11 best results counted.

        10 races can be held in just 3 months.

    5. No of course not. As we know, most seasons are decided by just a few races anyway so 8-10 races will be more than enough.

    6. They should give up on the idea of running anything close to a full season, but I’m looking forward to a shortened championship where each race result is more important.

      1. Absolutely right! This talk about squeezing in 19 or so races is crazy. Eight rounds makes valid championship, perhaps they should aim for about 10-13, if possible.

        1. I agree with both these comments. I think they may still be able to hold the 2020 season but perhaps with just 10-12 races.

        2. Whatever Liberty need to fulfil their broadcast obligations should be the minimum, I have 15 in my head, without that revenue there will nothing to distribute to the teams.

    7. Season could be started after what used to be the “summer break”. Fit in as many extra races as possible in the remaining slots.

      That’s assuming things are calm by August.

      1. I completely agree. I don’t think things will be calm but hopefully there will be less hysteria.

    8. If they’re just gonna give up on 2020, they can immediately give up on 2021 as well because nothing will be different until there’s a vaccine. Instead of giving up, which has zero benefit to anyone, they have to (and will, I’m sure) make the best of it for this year and next, holding as many races as they can behind closed doors. For us fans who watch on TV, that will hardly make a difference, and for the sport it can make the difference between going down and surviving.

      1. Yup, this sums it up for me. Nicely put @krommenaas.

      2. That’s how I feel as well. @krommenaas

    9. Just cancel the season, the chance that even after possible races in Austria or England, more races can be held in other continents, is very slim. And if they start, and problems arise, all is cancelled again, even worse for the sport.
      The risks with thousands of people traveling, and working in close proximity is much too dangerous.
      This crisis is so much bigger than sports alone, let’s focus on what is important.

    10. I don’t think the sport has taken many sane decisions in the past decade, especially those from the last year or two – e.g. 22 races, change of the weekend format, regulations and etc. Everything is a big rush that leads nowhere. Obviously, it’s driven by people that don’t see or care about the big picture. Of course, there were also good stuff like F1TV, but I’d stop just there.

      This behavior is particularly aggravating in the current situation. If any races are taken, the should be definitely carried with no spectators on the circuit, very limited paddock activities and just a few journalists e.g. the championship will be compromised in terms of actual challenge, transparency and objective score system – if they have 10 races, they’ll need to implement the 9,6,4,etc scoring system in order to have some basic objectivity. They could do some of these, but more likely rushed and impractical decisions will be taken for ever separate venue. We don’t need that at all.

      For me this season is off and I have tickets for Mozna, but I don’t really care. Perhaps, this is a good opportunity for a big rethink and going back on the right track where there’s a real competition between manufactures and the best drivers take the best cars. The only way this could happen is if the sport becomes cheaper through demand, but not artificial caps and less regulated in the details. It’s counter-intuitive I guess, but I am sure they will reach to that conclusion sooner or later.

      Perhaps, instead of starting the season, they could focus on engineering and rules adaptation. They could open track for testing and do everything that will enable creative competition to bridges the gaps (introduced mainly through protective business model rather than competitive engineering and racing), so we have 4-5 teams winning races and strong real racing between the top 2. It’s also interesting to see how these drivers will fair in race-sims in configurations where base performance is equalized and things differ mainly on setup, strategy, and driving. Of course, the physical part will never be there.

      Hope everyone is OK and get out stronger out of this.

    11. Let’s look at the facts.

      Data from the UK ONS says that in the 30-50 age bracket, deaths from covid-19 amount to 3% in England and Wales. That c.600 30-50s to date have died is tragic of course, but from a UK population in that age group of 26.3M it’s also a reflection of the low risk, 0.0023%.

      I’d hazard a guess that there’s more chance of being run over in the pit lane than death from covid-19. Regarding returning to their families, if the age bands are adhered to strictly, a fireproof drivers balaclava worn by all, the doors left wide open and the races run without spectators, the risk would be negligible.

      It’s the visuals that might stop it, plus hysterical media stirring up the masses. I also think the same applies to most sports, especially Premier League football where Liverpool are so close to redemption after years in the doldrums.

      1. What a selfish and blinkered attitude. I’m alright, I don’ have a high risk of dying. It does not exclude any of that age group from catching the virus and passing it on to others, perhaps your more vulnerable family members. But perhaps they are not an important consideration to you. Also you could be one of the lucky 0.0023% but perhaps you have divine imunity.

        1. Actually I’m a lot older than the 30-50 age group, hence I’m not sure how you think my analysis is selfish. I offered solutions for avoiding passing to family members, quite practical in fact, because most of the pit crew wear fireproofs and helmets for the pitstops already. Perhaps reading before you reply might be good, just a suggestion..

          1. I didn’t realize they wear all that protective equipment whilst travelling between venues. My bad.

            1. One person per car, races in Europe, if you don’t assess these things you’ll have no chance to pass the risk analysis that holding any event will need, Your bad indeed.

            2. Here’s another top tip George, don’t start out by insulting the person you want to have a serious debate with. That’s on top of the ‘read the post carefully’ tip ;-) Sometimes I’m just too helpful..

      2. @frasier there is a problem with your argument though, which is the fact that the Office for National Statistics has a significant lag in producing its figures.

        The latest set of figures which the ONS is providing is for deaths registered by the 10th April. As the process of registering a death is estimated to take around 4 days, that means the ONS data set is effectively only telling you how many people had died by the 6th April – that is nearly three weeks ago, meaning you are relying on a data point that is still relatively early on in the outbreak of covid-19 in the UK.

        The Financial Times has been running its own method of estimating fatalities in the UK, and they have suggested that those delays in reporting mean that the true fatality count is significantly underestimated – back on the 22nd April, they suggested that, whilst the official count was around 17,300, the true fatality count as of that date was much more likely to be around 41,000 (and that does seem to be borne out by the fact that the number of recorded deaths per week is currently running around 50% higher than normal). https://www.ft.com/content/67e6a4ee-3d05-43bc-ba03-e239799fa6ab

        It is worth noting that there are a number of other nations which admit that the number of reported fatalities are almost certainly a significant underestimate.

        For example, in Brazil the health under secretary has admitted that the official infection count and fatality rate were being grossly underestimated, and reckoned that the true number was around eight times higher – university medical research facilities reckoned that the true figures are more like 12 times higher.

        Unfortunately, there are more than a few complaints that Jair Bolsonaro is suppressing and hiding the true fatality count because he fears the damage it will do to his reputation. However, that is not really hugely successful right now, as there has been a suspiciously large number of individuals recorded as dying of “pneumonia” in Brazil at the moment, and gravediggers in Sao Paolo have privately reported that the number of burials is more than 50% higher than normal (which is why they are now resorting to using excavators to dig graves en-masse).

        1. Lots of words anon, but I don’t see your risk analysis, which is what I was offering.

          1. William Jones
            26th April 2020, 18:11

            He doesn’t have to offer his own to debunk yours, which he has done very effectively.

            You used death data from 3 weeks ago and infection data from yesterday. Your risk assessment is nonsense and deserves to be called out as such without the burden of having to offer their own to somehow validate the fact that you used bad data.

            1. William Jones, I didn’t see any attempt from anon to establish what the FT figures mean in terms of risk to individuals, which was the whole point of my post. If anon cares to boil down the FT data and arrive at a number I will consider myself ‘debunked’ if it turns out that it’s orders of magnitude riskier. I rather doubt that however.

      3. GtisBetter (@)
        26th April 2020, 14:59

        hysterical media stirring up the masses

        Which media? And who are the masses?

        1. What media…have you been in hibernation? The death of Stirling Moss and the odd mention of Brexit punctured the non-stop Covid-19 reporting, but I can’t immedaitely recall anything else. The masses are of course all those who are understandably alarmed by the prospect of covid-19 symptoms.

          1. GtisBetter (@)
            26th April 2020, 16:20

            We clearly read different media. While covid has been the top story for weeks, I have read many others. There is no such thing as “the media”. That is made up like “the masses”. There are many different kinds of media and people with different attitudes towards covid-19 and the aftermath. You can’t just pile them all together.

            1. I suspect we do indeed read different media, mine tends to be subject focussed and in the case of covid looks at the bigger picture and all the people who are not right now being treated for urgent diseases, this source has proved very instructive

              https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2020/04/21/the-anti-lockdown-strategy/

              One of a few Dr Kendrick has written on the subject, he usually writes about heart disease, which is the reason I came across him. Very helpful for my situation and ensured I’m as active as ever.

              MSM, bit of a waste of time for unbiased information on pretty much any subject you care to choose. If you want your confirmation bias augmented, then it’s great of course ;-)

            2. William Jones
              26th April 2020, 18:16

              Would that be the same Dr Malcolm Kendrick who shills for the Institute for Natural Healing, and was written up by the GMC for “prescribing” VitaCardio to a patient who suffered from heart attacks?

              Serious question, if you believe that quack, why should we listen to anything you have to say?

            3. William Jones
              26th April 2020, 18:22

              I notice @frasier, in the article you link, your “esteemed” Doctor fails to mention that patients are being discharged when they are no longer infectious. But the premise of his article is that released patients will go and spread the infection. But they can’t because they are no longer infectious.

              So, you claim that you don’t read the “hysterical” media, because it’s “stirring up the masses” then link to a misleading article designed to spread fear to it’s readers, for profit as an example of the sort of media we should all be reading.

            4. William Jones, emotional stuff. It sounds as if you have an axe to grind against Dr Kendrick? I don’t see his articles as intended to spread fear, but instead to present a rational analysis of the current situation, one that our government experts may agree with, but dare not say because of the backlash. The concern over the last few days has been about care homes and their vulnerable residents, Dr Kendrick visits these homes as part of his GP function. What is your personal knowledge of the situation, do you know these patients are no longer infectious, if so, how was it established?

              Do you believe MSM doesn’t make a profit from sensationalising the news?

            5. @frasier I can see why William Jones would take a rather harsh position against an individual who has no concerns about representing an organisation (the “Institute for Natural Healing”) which sells fraudulent medication – for example, selling products they promote as being beneficial for the heart through third party sellers, but admitting “These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” on their own website, or scamming cancer patients by offering them fake cancer cures.

              This particular doctor has also been rather heavily criticised for the way that he has carried out his ‘research’ when he was part of a group submitting papers for peer review. The paper in question had a number of rather significant flaws in its methodology, picking a limited number of cohort studies from a single medical database, deliberately excluded any studies which were not from the English speaking world, and used cohort studies which had very different approaches for accounting for confounding factors, such as the type of medication which those on those studies might be using (relying on limited aggregated information instead).

              The panel of authors, Dr Kendrick included, admitted in their paper that the failure to take into account any medication which the participants might be using during the course of the cohort studies was a particularly significant confounding factor that meant their study could be drawing false conclusions, although it was by no means the only confounding factor that they failed to adequately account for. Furthermore, about half of the studies that were used in that particular paper didn’t actually find the link that the authors were looking for, and it is worth noting that a third of the cohort studies they used were not originally designed to study the topic they were looking for either.

              That does raise a number of significant concerns over his approach towards undertaking a scientific study, with complaints of biased and partial data selection to fit a preconceived idea and a failure to then subject any hypothesis that he has come to to a rigorous consideration of potential factors which might undermine or contradict his hypothesis.

            6. I agree with much of what you are saying anon, but a small nuance: there is a difference between

              “These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

              In the EU (and despite Brexit, the UK is still operating under these rules), there are rules for how to ‘advertise’ online. Even if, like for most vitamins, there is a long list claims of what they are helpful for approved by EFSA, then that still means that they technically are not medication, and as such might be recommended to help by a qualified physician to patients, but do need that disclaimer in ‘advertising’ (and non-physicians shouldn’t recommend them to help against conditions, esp. if they are also selling them – that’s seen as false advertising, and in EU since 2014, carries potentially large fines) – so the doc. might either be on solid ground there, or not, but the disclaimer doesn’t mean automatically problematic stuff.

              Still, @frasier do read Financial Times: Global coronavirus death toll could be 60% higher than reported | Free to read before settling in to your claim. Also, as to the lag in these results: Germany is not in that article, because aggregating the data is done by the federal states first, so it takes time to get full picture – other countries have their own reasons for lagging, sometimes a lot.

              Please also note that doctors are seeing more and more signs that even ‘mild’ cases can leave formerly healthy patients with long lasting and potentially live-long after effects to their health (anecdotal, from twitter, newspaper articles etc. as at the moment the health care professionals lack time to publish this stuff, even though work on that is being done where possible).

              As anon explains, do treat the results of single studies, esp. if they show what you would like to see, with scepticism as long as they are not confirmed by more evidence please.

    12. Red Bull said they want two GPs in July without spectators. Second – a week after first. Though unlikely to happen.

    13. There are presumably tracks that will become available in countries that have dealt with the pandemic better than others. If some of these races are the ones that have multiple possible layouts, couldn’t we just have several races at the same venue, just in different configurations, backwards, etc.

      Use this opportunity to experiment with some of the random ideas to shake up the system. Different qualifyings, reverse grids, sprint races. Hell, let drivers swap teams and drive other cars?

      Whatever happens will mean a seriously reduced and unusual championship, but there are options here – both realistic and outlandish.

      1. @rocketpanda Once again, the reverse-option isn’t achievable due to the run-offs and that applies to all tracks. As for the multiple layouts: Only Circuit Paul Ricard gives a handful of suitable alternatives. The rest not as much, but to be honest, even that wouldn’t be needed as no race is ever the same outcome-wise, so just keeping the regular-layout would be enough.

    14. Can’t see any races before the very end of the year, most countries have only just reached the peak of infections (or hope they have) and are in some form of lockdown. The last thing any country needs is 500+ team members, a full squad of marshalls and all the necessary medical personnel, going in and out a circuit for 4-5 days, never mind what would happen if a crash occurred and people had to be ferried to hospitals.

      I think the best we can hope for, is maybe a few non-championship races behind closed doors in about October, November. Liberty can pay the teams to attend, and write the money off as essential advertising.

    15. I think F1 has to try to hold the races it can safely hold, even if that turns out to be one race at Abu Dhabi next January behind closed doors. I think more than that will be possible, but F1 needs to show it will meet its commitments to those with whom it contracted, or else F1 2021 will be in danger, vaccine or no.

      An 8-race championship would work fine for me on the current points system, and if there are fewer races than this possible, then a set of exhibition non-championship races would still be worth holding.

      1. I shall categorically second that. Well said.

    16. The Italian cultural minister has has now said there will be no foreign travel in Italy this year, so looks like we can scratch one country of the list.. No idea if that would stop teams from leaving or returning?

      1. @antznz If yes, then Ferrari and AlphaTauri as Italy-based teams would be in trouble.

      2. The Italian cultural minister has has now said there will be no foreign travel in Italy this year

        Did he really say that, @antznz? or is it yet another rumour.
        Some tabloid media reported the same about Spain last week, but of course, that was not true. Spain was only looking at one extreme scenario in which international travel would not be possible, and would the country would do in that case. It is certainly not their strategy.

        1. @coldfly this is the article I saw, you make up your own mind. It didn’t sound “hyped” to me. I haven’t seen the comments anywhere else. I know it’s not binding but it may give some insights into discussions behind closed doors and there is always the chance that exemptions will be made. It don’t get the impression they’ll be rolling out the red carpet for the F1 circus.

          https://www.rt.com/news/486919-heiko-maas-tourism-outbreak/

    17. GtisBetter (@)
      26th April 2020, 14:51

      The whole situation is going to be interesting for sure. If sports get the green light, there will be an explosion of it in the last part of the year where everybody is trying to salvage something of the year 2020. So many races and traveling will happen even without public. Locally it can somewhat controlled, but internationally it’s going to be a big puzzle.

      Realistically it’s not going to be “safe” to race this year. The research and vaccines take time to get answers. The only thing we can do is talk about how much risk we can take and keep things manageable if somethings happens. And as F1 is an international series we can only wait for the governments to give the all clear sign. So I think it’s early to officially call it of. There is time left to organize something.

    18. I voted for strongly disagree, but I’d rather put it as ‘not yet’ because it’s still too early to make definite conclusions about the rest of the year from August-September onwards.

    19. Jose Lopes da Silva
      26th April 2020, 15:15

      I don’t know if most readers here are British, but this is a matter for scientists, doctors and the Austrian authorities in first place.

    20. Personally I think they should call off the championships (drivers and constructors) and instead look to experiment with non-championship races if they can be possibly run at all. Priority this year should be on fairer distribution of any wealth created, so that teams do not go under and 2021 has 20 cars.

      I’ve said this previously, but any champion this year is going to have a very large asterisk next to their name for many reasons, some teams won’t be able to compete at some events, tracks will be repeated, etc. It’s just not a world championship. I’m not saying not have any races, and I know the min. 8 races rule, but the most important thing at present is to stick together and make sure we have 20 cars on the grid next season. I disagree with you Keith!!

    21. Ross Brawn once remarked that he would like to run some non-championship races to test out ideas and other formats and sadly now seems a good time to possibly do it, depending on certain circumstances. IF, and that is a big if, any form of racing can resume this ‘season’ (read year) then why not use what will be an increasingly very short calendar, including multiple rounds at the same track possibly, to test out some of these ideas.

      I personally do not think that cramming a mix-and-match selective bunch of races should contribute to a full championship. This is especially so if the tracks are used for multiple rounds of the championship. For me, being the master of many tracks on any given weekend makes you a champion, and not winning the same race two/three times a season, thus possibly giving teams an ‘unfair’ (as much as making a good car for a track is deemed unfair in this sport) advantage. On the other hand, if a calendar can be put in place which has multiple rounds on unique tracks and a minimum number of rounds could be held then I think it could be deemed a championship thus racing as we know it, all be it with zero crowds, should continue this season.

      My logical behind my vote ‘agree nor disagree’ is that I do not believe that racing on the scale of a Formula One calendar will happen this year regardless of championship status. The logistical as well as public health issues would/could be major issues which F1, alongside other sports, cannot overcome by sheer willpower alone. Even if, lets say, Silverstone will be the new championship opener, teams would possibly need to arrive, isolate for two weeks prior, race, and then travel to another destination, isolate for two weeks prior, and then so on and so forth. The isolation periods may not be laws in certain countries but, personally, I feel that in order to move on from Covid then countries will want to remove any external risks and thus mandatory isolations. This means that if a calendar were to put in place to remove these hurdles, team members could be away from family for a long, long time. Even if teams can be tested at all points along the way why should racing teams get preferential treatment for testing which, especially in the UK, the average person cannot get. Sport should not be using up any valuable test or testing capacity just for racing to happen.

      If F1 wanted to have some races, why not call it an ‘exhibition’ season were new ideas can be tested. Reverse grids, multiple race formats, have multiple rounds at the same venue, test out new rules, etc. This would allow teams to go racing whilst also removing the need for a multiple round championship and removing some issues surrounding the public health and logistical issues.

      My only hope is that whether or not we get a full ‘championship’ season, an exhibition season, or anything else, the decision is made in the right spirit and that is that the health of all involved from teams to nations hosting GP’s, are not endangered for the sake of racing.

    22. Race a few European (or all of them) races in the fall – call it Race of Champions instead.

    23. Definitely keep 2020 in some form. Whether just running the remaining races (or at least, say, 5) or doubling up, I know that coming out of UK lockdown I will very much enjoy watching the races.

    24. While I was saying something else three weeks ago (and it was caused mainly by the senseless ideas to race three times at Silverstone and similar stuff), now I would’t jump to conclusions too quickly. The trend of the past few days from many European countries has been really encouraging, so let’s wait two or three weeks and then we might talk about the season going on or not. Given the current circumstances and relying on the positive trend, I think racing in July is not only feasible, but also necessary.

    25. I think it’s entirely reasonable to call the championship off but not the season. No reason at all not to hold whatever races that could be safely organized as it’s all good entertainment and practice. If there is a championship however, it will be forever tainted and disputed by the fact it was severely cut in length. The winner won’t be a ‘real’ winner, not like those who won after a grueling 20+ schedule. Some people won’t even count a season with quite possibly only 5-10 races at max. Instead the season should NOT be for the regular championship but instead for a one off challenge cup (Crisis or Challenge Cup not Covid Cup!). This way race points will still be important and maybe a charitable cause could be involved. I believe it would attract a lot more viewers in amongst the less dedicated race fans who have no problem with the current full seasons. It would take the pressure off teams considerably and maybe encourage them to develop their cars and experiment new ideas ready for 2021. Seeing as this ‘cup’ would likely only be a one off and probably never repeated I actually believe there would be intense driver competition to win it. You can bank on Lewis giving 100 % to give that trophy a home in HIS home. Possibly a good finale for Seb too.

    26. Thing is, the surrounding pandemic situation will go on at least deep into 2021, if not longer. We have no cure, no vaccine, and any peer immunity would only start with around 70% of the population infected and would require people actually being immune after an infection, which there currently is no sign of.
      Any opening up of lockdowns until then won’t come from the health aspect getting any better, but rather from people being so discontent with lockdowns they’d rather accept people dying. Sports and public events should not be starting this year, and probably not next year either.

      1. A reliable vaccine for the coronavirus is probably 3 to 6 years away, maybe much later than that. All else will flow from the availability or unavailability of a vaccine. Formula 1, not being essential to life on Earth, is hardly a priority. We need to start to accept this.

      2. @crammond yeah the whole point about infection not giving immunity is a huge point that people aren’t paying much attention to. My question is, if this is true, isn’t this what a vaccine tries to create? So how likely is it that a vaccine can even be effective? I suspect that a vaccine will be longer coming than previously thought.

        What this means for motorsports? I don’t know, but likely that we won’t get a championship this year. I think F1 will try an event or two before they give up on the season.

    27. It looks like social distancing and travel restrictions will be in place until 2021, even a behind closed doors race will be impacted by this. Chance of a race – low.

    28. Looking at the statistics from China, once they had gotten to a stable state they were getting about a 2% residual rate of infection compared to the peek of the crisis. Most of those appear to be from outside of China. It looks like it is very difficult to get below the 2% mark when the virus is so prevalent in other countries. From the peak to getting close to the 2% rate was an average rate of decrease of about 3% per day. I found 6 other countries that showed 2 or more weeks of declining active cases, Australia (3.4% per day), Austria (3.5%), Iran (2.5%), New Zealand (3.8%), Switerland (2.5%), and Taiwan (2.9%). The average rate of decline over the 14+ days was also 3% per day, so the rate of decline in China is consistent with what those other countries are achieving. It took China 51 days to get from their peek to the 2% mark, so it is reasonable to assume that other countries with a similar rate of decline will get to their respective 2% of peak mark in about the same amount of time.
      Currently we have teams based in the UK (7), Switzerland (1), and Italy (2). The UK don’t appear to have reached their peak yet. Switzerland have just over 3 weeks of declining active cases. Italy look like they have passed their peak.
      I think the responsible thing to do is to consider going racing when both the country where the race is going to be held and the countries where the teams come from have reached their 2% of peak active cases.

      1. @drycrust

        That is all just the first wave, though. As soon as a country opens up, those 2% infected will start the next wave of exponential growth of infections.

      2. @drycrust I’m in New Zealand and we have done this with a strict lock down and no international travel. The only way we maintain this is with closed borders. As soon as borders open, you unleash the beast. Look at Singapore now, that was hailed as the model for CV19 management. They allowed foreigners in and now its out of control.

        The only safe bet this year is that there will be more waves of the virus as rules are relaxed.

        1. @antznz Yes, I’m in NZ too. What you say about the borders is very true, the virus is very tenacious. It takes about 7 days to get from exposure to the point where a person has a fever, making it difficult to find out who might have gotten exposed to that person. Recently the Chinese media reported a case where a student arrived back in China from New York and infected 70 people. I don’t know how true that is, but it sounds credible.
          There seems to be a “glide path” of between around 2.0% and 3.5% per day, with an average of about 3% per day, in which the countries that have sustained declines for 2+ weeks seem to fit into. In the case of China they have hit what I call “noise”, which is the new infections that came about by infected people coming in from overseas and such like. This is part of the problem for F1 because they don’t want to go somewhere and infect people, which means they shouldn’t even think about going outside of the UK until the country has got the virus under control.
          Using a 3% per day rate of decline you get from the peak to the 2% “noise” mark in about 51 days.

    29. All I can see happening is a short season at best. And that even seems like a coin toss against shelving the season. And 2 races a weekend max if they run multiple races each week.

    30. The Bundesliga is planning on restarting in May. If that really happens then I guess it should be possible for f1 to start in July although there won’t be many options for circuits.

    31. Business as usual in 2020 is highly unlikely and so I believe F1 has to act on getting an UNusual set of races going to provide some income to keep the teams from bankruptcy, a lot of changes may be needed to allow social distancing and some teams may not be able to race at all. For TV viewers, who hardly ever see what’s happening behind the top 3 teams, a dozen cars can provide all the excitement and suspense required to make a race worth watching and just because you saw a GP at a track last year doesn’t mean it’ll be boring watching a GP at that track this year, and the same would apply if races at that track were a week apart rather than a year, disappointing as it might be for fans whose home races cannot be held.

    32. The most costly scenario to everyone involved is to pretend that races will go ahead, only to cancel at the last minute.
      Tracks have to spend millions organising the event. Teams have to commit resources to travelling to the races, which has become exceptionally complicated of late (a lot of hotels are shut down, flights are scarce, countries have strict quarantines in place).

      Naive optimism, and then having to confront reality is just going to make those who are financially struggling in the sport struggle even more.

      All the countries left on the calendar have varying levels of impact and response to Covid 19. Singapore and Japan are now starting to experience a second wave as a result of loosening restrictions. The United States and Brazil are governed by fools. Russia is not going to do any better. Of the countries that are doing a good job of managing the outbreak, how many of them want hundreds of foreign nationals from two of hard hit countries (UK and Italy) coming into their borders?

      It’s all going to be called off anyway, might as well let everyone involved minimise their costs.

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