Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Zandvoort, demonstration run, 2020

Fate of Dutch GP rests on whether F1 will pay – Lammers

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In the round-up: The Dutch Grand Prix will only go ahead this year if Formula 1 Management is will to subsidise a race behind closed doors, says promoter Jan Lammers.

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Comment of the day

@US-Brian doubts the 2020 F1 season will begin in Austria as planned.

I can’t see how even Austria could happen. Yes they seem to be doing well with how they are handling the pandemic but it would be reckless to let so many people from different countries come in all at once. And I mean only the team staff: Drivers, FIA, F1 staff needed to get the race going.

Unless a country is able to open its borders to anyone, it doesn’t make sense. Plus how can you police a full quarantine of all these people prior and between each race.

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Keith Collantine
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24 comments on “Fate of Dutch GP rests on whether F1 will pay – Lammers”

  1. I doubt Zandvoort will be the only track that will want a rental fee to hold a closed-door race, and that raises the question of whether the TV revenue alone can provide an income for the teams after travel costs and track fees have been deducted. Far more sensible to hold races at one track, with the least amount of travel required, until such time as things become more normal.

    1. @hohum I’ve been asking that same question. If Liberty is having to pay to run races, is there enough revenue to provide anything meaningful in terms of return to the teams who are going to be forces to fund their racing activities (tyres, salaries, parts etc) from their own cash flows.

      Is Liberty’s plan for the benefit of F1/Teams/the sport or is it driven by trying to prop up their share price?

      1. @hohum @dbradock
        I think it was mentioned before in an article.
        Instead of charging the hosting tracks a fee (say 10-40mil), plus the TV revenue (that’s worth a lot, far more than the hosting fees) and paying the teams with these funds, while the hosting tracks expecting to make a profit by selling tickets to the public…
        Liberty intends to stage races with no crowds, just so that they meet the 15-race threshold to collect the TV revenue. No crowds mean no revenue for the tracks to pay Liberty, so they’ll “rent” the hosting tracks for a low price of 1-2mil (instead of taking money of them, they’ll give them).
        So in the end Liberty will spend 15-20mil in to hosting the races in order to make 100+millions of the TV revenue. It’s better than no spending anything and losing ALL the TV revenue instead.

        1. No crowds mean no revenue for the tracks to pay Liberty, so they’ll “rent” the hosting tracks for a low price of 1-2mil

          I doubt FOM will ‘pay’ the tracks; they will merely significantly reduce the hosting fee, @black.
          All tracks have some sponsorship income (e.g. naming rights partner) and many cities/regions/countries still want their name linked to a GP (state sponsorship).

          1. @coldfly I don’t know if the main sponsor like “Rolex British Grand Prix” pays the Silverstone track for exposure or Liberty or both, but all the other F1 sponsors like “Fly Emirates” “Pirelli” etc that appear on advertising boards and on the CGI on the runoff areas, i believe that are used mainly for Liberty’s profit.

            Whatever is the case, tracks like Silverstone, Suzuka and simillar, that rely on revenue from tickets (and maybe also sponsors) don’t have an incentive to host a no-crowds race by just paying ‘just’ 5mil from the original 20mil. Why would they bother if they don’t make any profit? Either as you say the title sponsor (that pays them directly) will cover the hosting fee, or Liberty will pay say 1mil to ‘rent’ the track and plan to get x100 times that from the TV revenue and sponsorships.

            Other races like Bahrain, Abu Dhabi most likely they don’t care and will just accept a small deduction in the original racing fee just for the exposure.

        2. @black That may be the case but if they don’t hit the right number of races, the TV revenues will be scaled back significantly (depends on the contracts). There’s absolutely no guarantee that they are going to meet their numbers to collect all of their TV rights fees or Sponsor fees so there is still some doubt over just what revenues Liberty is going to collect.
          My whole point is that Liberty is going to risk teams revenue (an their own) against what it hopes will be an income stream – there’s no hard and fast guarantee that they are going to be able to hold enough races to secure that income stream.

    2. Ofcourse Liberty is trading with the circuits about the fee and that will be nothing else with Zandvoort. My surprise is more the public see rather a race with closed-door policy then nothing at all.
      As someone who rather wants that because couple of races on the same track is boring and the second race after the first will be the same result (accidents and clashes excepted).

      So we get:
      Austria – Ferarri and Red Bull
      Silverstone – Mercedes and Ferarri
      Hungary – Mercedes and Red Bull

    3. I think there are a few tracks that don’t need it (Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Sochi, China and it seems Austria might have Dieter Mateschitz jumping in) but yeah, I cannot see how most tracks would be able to stage a race unless Liberty pays for holding the event if it is without a crowd @hohum.

  2. NASCAR is looking to restart their season on May 17th. They plan to race at Darlington Raceway on May 17th and May 20th, and at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24th and May 27th. They will be run with skeleton crews of no more then 5 people per team excluding driver and spotter.
    These tracks were chosen for their close proximity to the race teams and their ability to run one day shows. The plan is to show up in the morning, tech the cars, qualify, race, and go home. This would eliminate the need for hotels and planes. NASCAR teams are already based in the Charlotte area and Darlington is about a 2 hr drive away. These races are to be run without fans.

    1. This is a great example of how far away F1 is from going racing right now. Can you imagine a modern F1 car being run by a team of 5?! That’s to say nothing of the disbelief the rest of the world has in how reckless some American states are being about the virus.

      If I was a mechanic or a driver, I don’t think I would be comfortable putting myself in such an environment any time soon, whether the race is behind closed doors or not. That’s to say nothing of the marshals, medical staff, stewards and others who are required to hold a grand prix, fans or no fans.

      It all comes down to the feared second wave of infections. Countries like new Zealand, Germany and Czechia are guinea pigs, in so much as they are among the first countries to begin, tentatively, lifting strict lockdowns. If they see a bounce back of the virus, I would expect all sports to be abandoned for at least the rest of this year.

      1. @frood19 five does sound like a surprisingly low number, as it is notable that other series seem to require significantly more staff.

        For example, if you look over at MotoGP, they’re talking about noticeably higher numbers – even the independent satellite teams, which are more stripped down organisations, reckon a team of 25 is as low as they can go, in part because some functions can be supported by the factory teams they work with.

        That, in turn, means the factory teams think that a team of 40 is the lowest they could cut back to – even if you stripped it back to just the premier series the low end estimate would be 365, and that is just the teams (i.e. it doesn’t include the staff that the circuit itself has to provide, such as marshals, or medical teams).

        1. ANON, you are talking about the normal full-fat flyaway series, the races mentioned are virtually at the factory gate and have made concessions to the program.

        2. NASCAR teams usually don’t have more then 12 members to begin with. Is this partly because a lot of the functions that F1 and Moto GP teams need to focus, NASCAR doesn’t. The two biggest things are fuel and engines. Sunoco handles the fuel and most teams use a third party engine supplier.

    2. @dragon86, that sounds eminently sensible to me, it’s the same basic idea I have been suggesting for Silverstone, and I am quite sure it doesn’t take more than 5 people to do anything on an F1 car, and only 1 person to drive it, of course many hands do make light work but as long as the number is the same for each team it’s fair and doable.

      1. I hadn’t thought about this before and 5 may be a bit low, but with no hospitality staff and all data aquisition and analysis jobs at home/team base/anywhere remote from the garage, then the number could be small fraction of what we normally see. If that small number remaining in the garage have been tested negative priot to the event too, then this starts to seem possible to me.

  3. Bild has reported a provisional new calendar with 17 races, 3 of them (AUT, GBR, HUN) as double races and after that single races in Eurasia-Asia-Americas.
    Given that France, the Netherlands and Belgium have announced that no sporting events, even behind closed doors, will take place before September 1st, and with reports popping out every day that tracks like Imola, Hockenheim, Algavre want to stage no crowds races, it me be a good idea to have some of these tracks back for some variation…if the season manages to start in the first place.
    So a provisional calendar could look (wishful thinnking):
    Jul 5 – Jul 8 : Austria 1+2
    Jul 19 – Jul 22 : Great Britain 1+2
    Aug 2 – Aug 5 : Hungary 1+2
    Aug 16 – Aug 19 : Germany 1+2 [or any other European race available]
    Aug 30 – Sep 2 : Portugal 1+2 [or any other European race available]
    {end of the European season with 10 races that is about the minimun that counts as a championship}
    Sep 13 : Azerbaijan
    Sep 27 : Russia
    Oct 11 : Japan
    Oct 25 : China
    Nov 8 : Mexico
    Nov 22 : Brazil
    Dec 6 : Bahrain
    Dec 13 : Abu Dhabi
    {18 races in total with 2 weeks gap at most flyaways}

    1. Bild has reported

      Your honour, I rest my case.

      1. Is it not credible? I don’t know, i thought it was… at least not ‘the Sun’ level of credibility.
        Anyway many sites are reporting similar calendars, with Austria-Silverstone-Hungary double headers.

        1. @black Bild is generally considered to be on the more sensationalist end of the spectrum – it might not be the worst site of its type, but there have certainly been quite a few who have compared it to papers like “The Sun”.

          As you note, there have been enough rumours about Silverstone and Austria holding two races from more reputable sites for that to be considered credible, but the races beyond that look rather more speculative.

        2. @black Now the Hungarian GP couldn’t take place on its original day anymore as mass gatherings in Hungary have been banned until the middle of August.

    2. @black Unrealistic.

    3. Of course they’d race in Brazil – good luck having any country allow them to fly back from there given it takes absolutely no precautions against COVID-19. That alone being on the calendar shows how out of touch they are.

      1. By late November the disease will have long run out of hosts in Brazil, so…

  4. Regarding the Autosport-article:
    The first paragraph: Impossible: The first Silverstone-race couldn’t take place on its original race day of July 19 if there’s a second Red Bull Ring-race on July 12. It’d be July 26 and August 2 for Silverstone, which would push back the Hungarian GP by at least 14 days to August 16 or ax it from this year altogether.
    BTW, regarding potential alternative race calendar for this year:
    There’s one thing no one has seemed to take into account with regards to the potential rescheduling of the Middle Eastern-races at the end of the year/season. People seem to assume it’d be December 6 for Bahrain and 13 for Abu Dhabi, but the Yas Marina Circuit is already booked for the annual 12 hours of Gulf for the weekend of December 12-13, so unless they were willing to either push back or bring forward the event, the Abu Dhabi GP couldn’t take place on that weekend. It’d have to be either November 29 for Bahrain and December 6 for Abu Dhabi, or December 13 for Bahrain and 20 for Abu Dhabi unless Bahrain hosted two races on both 6 and 13.

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