Fernando Alonso, Toyota, Dakar Rally, 2020

Alonso plans return to a ‘top category – F1, WEC or IndyCar’

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso says he wants to return to a “top category” and rules out returning to the Dakar Rally for a few years.

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Comment of the day

After seeing NASCAR’s race behind closed doors last weekend, @Geemac isn’t concerned about F1 putting on races without fans.

Harvick was really braving it out round the outside of Bowman… properly good racing there.

Having seen this it confirms my view that I won;t care about the stands being empty once the F1 season gets back underway, the on track action is all that really matters.
@Geemac

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On this day in F1

Nelson Piquet and Ricciardo Patrese collide, Monaco, 1985
Nelson Piquet and Ricciardo Patrese collide, Monaco, 1985
  • 35 years ago today Alain Prost beat Michele Alboreto to victory in Monaco, the Ferrari driver skidding out of the lead when he hit oil left by a huge crash involving Nelson Piquet and Riccardo Patrese

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  • 52 comments on “Alonso plans return to a ‘top category – F1, WEC or IndyCar’”

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      19th May 2020, 0:09

      I’m happy for the ratings NASCAR drew and agree with comment of the day Geemac that the race for the win was great. Selfishly though a part of me wishes Bowman could have roughed up Harvick just a little as the audience was huge and it could have been a 1979 type moment but all in all the race was a success.

      1. Yep, given the choice between no racing and Nascar racing a lot of folks chose Nascar, who’d a thunk it ?
        Maybe some of those folks might continue watching Nascar even after other racing starts, and some might even decide they prefer fake stock-cars racing to fake F1-cars racing.

        1. ColdFly (@)
          19th May 2020, 7:51

          Yep, given the choice between no racing and Nascar racing a lot of folks chose Nascar, who’d a thunk it ?

          Not bad though when they were competing with the Eurovision Song Contest? Fake is the new Real.

        2. I try follow NASCAR as much as I can, but I can’t say I’m fanatical about it. I keep tabs on the season as much as I can but there are just so many races in a normal season that it is hard to keep up. But, as a fan of motorsport and in the absence of any other motor racing, when offered the chance to watch NASCAR, of course I’ll watch NASCAR.

    2. Best Car, Worst Car, Dream Car: Hartley

      Good to see Brendon being interviewed. It’ll be good to see him racing again.

    3. Zandvoort looks beautiful! I wonder why Imola doesn’t do the same with Tamburello and Villeneuve.

      1. @niefer They could likely reconfigure Tamburello to it’s pre 1995 configuration if they wanted given the safety improvements to cars as well as barriers (Tec-Pro & Safer) but they likely don’t want to given the reason it was modified.

        I think at this point the issue with Villeneuve is less about the runoff at Villeneuve & more about the lack of it at Tosa. You have something like a brake/suspension/wing failure & go head on into the Tosa runoff then at well over 200mph i’m not sure even Safer/tec-pro will be as effective as they would need to be.

        Also consider the changes towards the end of the lap with the removal of the final chicane which would make speeds even higher than they were in 1994.

        And something to consider with Zandvoort is that speeds won’t be too high. Yes they will be flat through the banking but there is a very tight chicane not too far before it so they will probably be doing 150-160 through the banking & about the same elsewhere that has limited runoff. At Imola they would be doing 190-200mph+ through Tamburello/Villeneuve.

        1. Gavin Campbell
          19th May 2020, 11:56

          Imola wont do it because its main motorsport event is World Superbikes – so these barriers are unsuitable. (They do use large airbags for short run offs but these have been reduced since the death of Moto 2 racer Luis Salom in Spain. They still used the proper old final turns at barcelona, he slid off at the corner (the part F1 bypasses with the chicane) and the bike struck the air bag and bounced back onto him.)

          Zandvoort as far as I can see hosts no bike events at all, furthermore its primary revenue driver is car racing rather than track days. Unfortunatley many other circuits are not in this position so have to resort to large tarmac run offs to accomodate a wide range of machinery, budgets and talent.

          1. Interesting bits of context and information @gt-racer and Gavin Campbell, yeah, bikes do need different things than cars, so makes sense different main uses make for different choices too. Also, with the TT in Assen being so well known and big, and the track being used for bikes a lot, while Zandvoort has to be selective with when, and how loud it is allowed to have events because of its location in a nature reserve and in close vicinity to urban housing, I doubt Zandvoort has much intention to add bikes either.

        2. @gt-racer and Gavin Campbell – I apologize for being so late, but as bosyber rightfully pointed out, great bits of input!

          Tosa always seemed to be a concern, but I always felt if they removed part of the grandstands it would be solved. Given there are grandstands at the Tosa straight with the same view, I think it would be fine. Either way, let’s say there is nothing that can be done about it. I still find Tamburello chicanes useless. Under current layout, if there was to be a mechanical failure at the first chicane, it would be pretty much the same outcome as pre-1995. That’s why I can’t get out of my head that SAFER barriers, at least at Tamburello, would be way better. I’m pretty positive reactivating the long radius Tamburello wouldn’t mess up with the chicane configuration as well. Though, If I’m asked, I’d say Imola is hardly a place to be raced with bikes regardless the configuration. Almost every corner is dangerous for a biker.

    4. Let’s see what happens with TV rights in Spain, but I’m affraid DAZN will put all in to get them as they did with MotoGP.

      1. why are we still talking about TV? shouldn’t evrything go to the F1 TV app once current contracts expire?

        1. @allyita I believe TV contracts that are compatible with there also being a F1 TV digital option are still being negotiated, since Liberty has no interest in the national “traditional” TV space. As long as it gets the digital space it wants (which some current contracts don’t allow), then Liberty is happy to have both streams of income.

    5. What a nice job! That looks like a real race track unlike some I could mention with unlimited paved runs off. I especially like the grass to the edge of the track in so many places. This is now on my list; of course when I will get to finish that list is unclear due to a certain virus……

    6. I mentioned it on the Alonso story but I’ll repeat it here – there are a lot of comments saying “Why would Alonso join Renault when they won’t win?” Fair enough but why did Kimi join Alfa when there is even less chance of them winning? Perhaps it’s simple – driving in F1 is fun and Alonso wants one more go even if it means racing in the midfield rather than for wins?

      1. @petebaldwin Different characters.
        You never heard Kimi in his late years constantly saying he wants to fight for the podiums, wins or the championship, he was satisfied with the No.2 status driving a Ferrari and then moved to Alfa Romeo to spend his final racing years quietly without the need to do all the PR the Ferrari job required because in the end, he liked what he did no matter what car he was driving.
        You can bet that Alonso is still mumbling in his sleep “my goal is to win a 3rd championship…”. Alonso basicly wore Ferrari so much that in the end he and they were both sick of each other…in comparison to Kimi who on his last races for Scuderia he won the US GP and practicly all of Ferrari and even the rivals cried and cheered for him. Alonso then moved to McLaren nagging them to death that he wants to fight for podiums and wins until his patience run out and left and McLaren finaly started working as a team again without him. He is a good driver sure, but his character says a lot why no high profile team has knocked his door and all 3 of them have had at least an empty seat every year from 2017 to 2021.

        1. ColdFly (@)
          19th May 2020, 7:54

          You never heard Kimi in his late years constantly saying he wants to fight for the podiums, wins or the championship

          @Black Different characters.
          Alonso loves the PR; Kimi doesn’t.

        2. @black. I’m not sure Alonso’s character has as much to do with his employment with the top 3. Red Bull have consistently had young drivers to replace their current incumbent. Ferrari’s number one driver policy wouldn’t have allowed a return against Vettel and Mercedes would have been foolish to upset Hamilton in 2017 by replacing Rosberg with Alonso. I’m not convinced any of the top 3 were ever actively courting Alonso; not because of his personality but because it wasn’t the correct business decision.

          I agree with @petebaldwin – Alonso could have left at the end of 14, the start of 15, the end of 16, mid 17 after Indy or early 18 when the car was clearly going to be in development for 2019. Of course, it was to Alonso’s benefit to stay – the Indy opportunity, a huge salary, high profile sponsorship for Kimoa and the reputation and prestige worldwide of being an F1 driver. But the results are not in keeping with the party line, “I’m only here to win, nothing else matters” – if that were true why didn’t he walk then? When he did leave it was clearly the end of the cycle, as with his time at Ferrari, as with Vettel’s time at Ferrari and Red Bull – the project was clearly not going to continue to deliver the same results or better.

          Alonso is a thoroughbred racer, unwilling to fade into the wilderness of early retirement of Vettel and Rosberg many years his junior. Since he’s left F1 he has attempted endurance, off road and ovals – he clearly isn’t hanging up his helmet anytime soon. He doesn’t want to be seen as an also ran, and i think his relationship with motorsport media have sometimes generated ‘win at all costs’ press for their mutual benefit. If Renault gave him the chance to get win 33 and a couple of podiums against the new generation I think he’d take it.

          1. @rbalonso His character is the only reason that none of the top teams consider him for the job. Sure he is quick and can still in his late 30s deliver good results if he’s asked to, but given his past history with McLaren (Spygate & Honda relationship), Renault (Crashgate) and Ferrari, pretty much everone in the paddock agrees he’s ‘toxic’.

            Mercedes had an open seat in 2017 after Rosberg retired and he wasn’t even considered. Instead they went with Bottas. And Mercedes, although difficult to control them, managed to win championships with two alpha drivers between 2013-2016, so it’s not that they always had Hamilton as No.1 policy. And after 2017, given that Mercedes give Bottas 1-year contracts, they also had the opportunity to sign Alonso in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 but they passed. Sometimes they’re looking over if Verstappen or Vettel are available saying comments to the press, but not Alonso…no wonder, it cost McLaren-Mercedes (the then Mercedes’s works-team) 100$ million after he lost to a rookie Lewis Hamilton.

            Wolff in August 2019 :

            Fernando is undoubtedly one of the strongest drivers and after his adventures at Ferrari he no longer had the opportunity to drive a competitive car. Due to a series of circumstances the top teams already have their “alpha “driver. Sometimes it’s not enough to be good at driving, you also need to have the right circumstances.

            Asked if was ‘unthinkable’ to consider a Mercedes dream team of Hamilton and Alonso, Wolff made it clear that was not on the cards :

            Yes, because we don’t want to repeat certain stories from when the two were together with McLaren.

            Red Bull, athough yes they replace their driver’s through their program, but given that Ricciardo and Sainz left, Gasly and Kvyat were demoted back to Toro Rosso, they only have Albon to fill the 2nd seat. If he too underperforms, then they might have to look outside their teams. Sometimes they’ve made comments about drivers outside their program joining the big team, like Raikkonen in 2013 or a return of Vettel maybe, but not Alonso…after he humiliated Honda for 3 years.

            Horner after Ricciardo left in 2018 :

            I have got huge respect for Fernando, he’s a great driver, a fantastic driver. But I think it’s very difficult to see… he tends to cause a bit of chaos wherever he’s gone. I’m not sure it would be the healthiest thing for the team for Fernando to join the team.

            Ferrari parted ways with Alonso and since then they never even consider him again, not as a replacement of Kimi to partner an underperforming Vettel (they choose a rookie that they had faith in him instead) and not as a replacement of Vettel who left the gap of ‘leading the team’ (they went for a 22 and a 25-year-old to lead Ferrari instead). No wonder, at least Vettel loved Ferrari and even when the car development didn’t went well, he tried to
            encourage his team. Alonso on the other hand had other ways to ‘encourage’ the team and lift the morale…

            After the Budapest race (2013) the Spaniard was asked what he wanted for his 32nd birthday and replied :

            someone else’s car.

            Alonso is not unwilling to fade into the wilderness of early retirement, he’s unwilling to fade into not being in the spotlight anymore.
            Kimi is a thoroughbred racer, he raced in F1, left, went to WRC, didn’t make half the fuss Alonso did with the Indycar and Triple Crown, returned to F1, raced again for Ferrari, left Ferrari and went to Alfa Romeo because he just loves racing.
            Button is a thoroughbred racer, he raced in F1, won a WDC and never caused problems, left and went on to race in Super GT, DTM and WEC and also didn’t make any fuss about a ‘possible’ return to F1.
            Rosberg won the WDC and left on his own terms because he accomplished what he wanted and wanted to spend time with his family and good for him.
            As for Vettel we don’t know what he’ll do, but given his personality, demenor and his work ethic, he’ll be regarded as a much more likable driver with than Alonso ever was.

            1. Spot on. Alonso is a nasty piece of work who would rather finish second-last, ahead of his teammate, than second, behind him.

              Let’s also not ignore that Hamilton and Mercedes will not be happy, to say the least, with any team that breaks the agreement not to hire him. Anyone who thinks Hamilton has forgiven and forgotten Alonso’s racist abuse when he was a rookie is utterly deluded, particularly given that he apparently keeps doing and saying the same things.

              Alonso is a pariah in F1, who has been sacked from every contracted drive he ever had. And once you take into account the car advantage he insists on over his teammate, it’s not even clear he’s particularly fast. Barely beat Stoffel, when that’s factored in.

            2. Dave‘s back sharing unfounded rumours!

            3. @black – thank you for taking the time to write up your reply.

              However I think we are addressing the same issue for 2 different sides – you are trying to find a framework where Alonso’s character is the sole influence on his career moves. My opinion considers the wider context of the sport at the time.

              The Red Bull academy model of bringing through young drivers and keeping the best was and remains the most lucrative way to improve your team in the long term. These academy projects have been adopted by all the major teams in the past few seasons. This is a crucial element when discussing the driver market – Alonso demanding a £30m salary could not compete against a Sainz, Kyvat or Ricciardo produced and courted for a fraction of the investment. In no circumstance would Alonso or Hamilton have ended up at Red Bull post 2014. Character or personality have no bearing on that decision. Ferrari were to promote Bianchi for 2015 and use their own academy but went with Raikkonen as the decision was made to concentrate on a First Driver policy. Either of those options reject Alonso before personality is considered.

              Mercedes in 2017 had the opportunity to sign Alonso but would have to buy out his contract and pay him handsomely following 3 years of acrimony that caused their current Champion into exile. The Mercedes board are not going to elect to bring in another superstar at the time of significant regulation change, especially when they have a complicit Mercedes and Wolff backed driver happy to join a big team as a support act. This, again, is a business choice made at a senior level. Had Alonso had Kimi’s amiable personality it wouldn’t have made a difference.

              I understand Alonso has made egregious comments in the press in the past and has perhaps allowed his emotions to create political drama but I think you’re trying to shoehorn in as many negatives about Alonso and his past as possible in the one comment. I prefer to look at Alonso as a frustrated genius – one whose legacy is an important part of the F1 story.

        3. Then again @black, it’s been 2 years without racing F1 at the start of next season and it will probably be 8-9 months with no real racing at all already for Fernando.

          That is a lot of time for a driver to reevaluate what he wants from life and it could mean that Alonso will feel that tingle to try and get Renault up and going when it didn’t work with Ferrari or McLaren and he’s not been racing much at all for the last few months.

          If Renault want to sign Alonso, that will be part of convincing the board to go along and see F1 as an opportunity. That board is currently preoccupied with other problems involving the top management, their partner Nissan and off course what to do to get things going after Covid again. A big name like Alonso might be what pulls them along.

          Off course this could also be Alonso once again talking up his prospects of signing with Mercedes, or just talking up his price for LeMans or Indycars. But then, who here can tell that they know the man enough to really understand what he is thinking right now?

          I agree with @petebaldwin, it could just be that Alonso feels that drive, just like Kimi does.

          1. @bascb I don’t think that Alonso has changed. People mature, they rarely change. Vettel, Raikkonen, Button, Rosberg, who i mentinoned above have pretty much the same personality they had 10 years ago. Hamilton on the other hand matured, polished the rough edges of his ‘out of the ordinary driver’ persona, but he didn’t change completely. Alonso is waaay past the point to consider that has now matured/changed…he 38, after all the drama with McLaren, Renault, Ferrari, McLaren again! he didn’t change, why would he now?

            From Renault’s perspective sure if they can get him, good for them, he is still fast, i am no denying that. It maybe the only thing that could convince the Renault board to continue their F1 operations. But F1 doesn’t need Alonso and his self-promotion “when i win it’s all me pulling a bad car from the dead – when i lose it was the best that even a god could do with this crap car” and constantly stirring the pot “will he go to Mercedes? Is Ferrari intrested in him? Does Red Bull have a seat?”. No, he had 18 good, filled with many controversies, but still good years, it’s been about time he moves on.

            1. Right. you don’t know the guy any more than any of us, but you “don’t think Alsonso has changed”. Nor do you think many other drivers have apart from Hamilton have …

              O…K. I get it. Bye then.

            2. @bascb Look, i don’t know if Alonso has changed, hence the “i think” part, I am just observing facts and produce my own conclusions. Maybe i am totaly wrong and Vettel, Kimi, etc changed completely their personalities over the past 10 years and couldn’t tell the difference because they are such good actors/drivers.

              Maybe Alonso after spending 4 years in an uncompetitive McLaren, wants to return again in a uncompetitive team and fight for the odd point, maybe he wants to commit to a 10 year contract to race till his 50s, maybe he wants not to be payed by the millions and instead help Renault use this cash to improve the car, maybe he does such a good job that Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull beg him to drive for them and he refuses because he is loyal to Renault, maybe, maybe, maybe…
              They are all possible scenarions, pick whatever makes you happy. I’d just stick with my perspective that Alonso is the same Alonso we kinda ‘know’ by now and i’ll continue my life without bothering…

            3. I’d just stick with my perspective

              Then social media is perfect for you, @black.
              You can share your views without having to bother listening to those of others :P

            4. @coldfly But arguing is fun, if i wanted to just have an opion and not be argued upon, i’d just start a conversation with my bedroom wall. I mean, isn’t that the reason there is a REPLY button in the comment section of this site?
              I have an opinion, you have an opinion, everyone has and we can share it. If you don’t like mine, you can reply and if your arguments convince me, great! If not, we move on with the rest of our lives. Fair play :P

            5. @black – I don’t think Alonso has “changed.” He’s still the same person he always has been. The difference here is that if he joins Renault, he won’t be coming back to win championships and he’ll know that before making his decision. He’s not stupid – he’ll know that he’s joining a team that have been off the pace for years and in the short to medium term, have absolute no chance of getting on the podium unless multiple drivers run in to problems. Making the decision to join Renault would be accepting all of this in advance.

              When he joined McLaren and Ferrari, it was to win titles and he was probably convinced to join them on the basis that he’d be given a car that was capable of doing so. When he ended up with a car that was off the pace, he was angry and frustrated because he felt like he was the best driver but was held back by his car. Hamilton is no different in that respect – he’s all about the team when they are a second faster than everyone else but he gets just as frustrated as any other driver when his car isn’t performing.

              There will be absolutely no pressure on Alonso at Renault so he can relax and have a bit of fun. It’s the same thing as why two team-mates fighting over a title almost always fall out whereas two team-mates battling in midfield tend to have a much friendlier relationship.

            6. @petebaldwin Maybe if the season starts and Renault perform well, i mean McLaren 2019 level well, frequent points scoring positions, maybe the odd podium, 4th-5th place in the WCC and IF (big if) Renault are commited to invest big in the 2022 car when everything resets…then Alonso, provided with a big paycheck, could be tempted to return. Spend a year reacclimatizing with a good car (the 2020 one which is the same in 2021) and going all in hoping that Renault make a Brawn GP-style comeback in 2022. Other than the dream of a 3rd WDC, i don’t know if Alonso would bother and race in a midfield team just for fun like Kimi.

              {the following is pure speculation} : If he does in fact return for a last hunt for the 3rd WDC, maybe it was his plan, kinda…he wasn’t going to win one with McLaren and besides Mercedes no one was certain to have a shot until the next big regulation change – he was passed over from the big teams in 2017 & 2018 so it wasn’t likely that any of the top-3 would pick him generaly in the future, so instead of wasting 2-3 more years in the midfield, he took a sabbatical, went to other series to race there to stay fit/relevant and when the time comes for the next big rule change (2022) try to get to the one team who you haven’t bridges before, hoping they deliver a miracle.

              Given the circumstances it’s also very possible that Renault pulls out of F1, even before 2022, so the entire discussion is pointless :P

      2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        19th May 2020, 8:42

        I think he could have more fun winning the Indycar title.

        He could then join Mario, Emerson, Nigel and Jacques as winners of both F1 and Indycar titles.

        1. And also become only the 2nd after hill sr. I suppose with the triple crown.

    7. My favourite element of that shot of Piquet and Patrese’s coming together has always been Laffite throwing his Ligier into a spin just behind them and just keeping it out of the wall…

    8. F1 is on the other side of the sporting spectrum that relies on audiences to create atmosphere. It doesn’t need cheering fans, though it is seen in Silverstone, Montreal etc. that it makes a difference especially in the turbo hybrid era but the majority of fans don’t watch it to see other fans chant, unfurl banners and light of flares.

    9. Oscar Jonas
      19th May 2020, 6:31

      F1 without audience would mean that we would miss out on the production cutting to close ups of various celebrities in the middle of the action – so it’s fine by me.

    10. Regarding the El Periodico-article: This article claims 18 for the number of races to be the lowest figure needed for a full TV-contract even though 15 has been slated as that everywhere over these months without racing due to the global circumstances. It also claims the Spanish GP would take place on August 9. It seems to be going back-and-forth between Spain or Hungary, which one would be earlier in August, and which one later. According to the article, August 9 is the least liked date by the circuit representatives, although I thought it was August in general, not a single specific day within it.

      I agree with the COTD, though, in that the track action is all that matters, hence, why I also probably wouldn’t pay attention to the stands being empty.

      The garden-image, though.

      1. @jerejj It may be to do with the fact that the Hungarian GP is technically within the prohibited zone and thus may not happen, or need to be delayed by a fortnight (same difference as far as Spain is concerned – mostly I think it wants to be as far away from August 15 (Feast of the Assumption, a national holiday in Spain) as possible. August is a bad month, but the middle of the month has cultural reasons for being a problem as well as the obvious climate trouble.

        1. @alianora-la-canta Climate isn’t really a problem, though. Last year, August in the Montmelo-area featured ambient temp-figures mainly in the high-20s and occasional early-30s ones, so not that bad. As for the national holiday: Under normal circumstances, it could be a problem, but not this time as the race would take place without spectators in attendance, hence, everything’s open. BTW, I didn’t know the Hungarian GP had entered a ‘prohibited’ zone, and I’m also not entirely sure what you mean with that.

          1. @alianora-la-canta I realized you were referring to mass gatherings being banned until the middle of August in Hungary. I was aware of that but didn’t really take into account anymore as it seemed Hungaroring might get the same exemption from it as Spa has got from its country’s governing-body(bodies).

    11. So maybe those saying the quarantine requirements would do Siverstone in could be right afterall .

      But it might just be that F1 now goes public with this statement to put some pressure on the UK government to agree to some exemptions.

      1. @bascb I’ve heard that Liberty have informed everyone concerned that should this 14 day quarantine come into effect then everyone that will need to travel to races will be expected to stay on the road for the duration of each leg of the season.

        I gather the proposal from Liberty is to travel to Austria as planned & then have everyone that goes stay together to travel to each of the planned European races & not return to the UK until they have a 2-3 week break before going over to do the Asian leg of the season. They will then repeat the process for the Asian, American & Middle Eastern races.

        I heard that a lot of the team/F1 personnel are not at all happy about the prospect of been on the road continually for more than a month at a time where they will no doubt be locked to motor-homes/hotel rooms/circuit facilities for the duration of that time & that there is a growing feeling that if they need to resort to this then Liberty need to run fewer races or scrap the season entirely.

        1. @gt-racer I’m not surprised. A couple of years ago, a triple-header was tried and the majority verdict was “never again” because people were drained. A quadruple or quintuple-header, with the extra week or two involved, is going to be dangerous.

        2. @gt-racer Yes, they mightn’t be able to hit the desired minimum of 15, but no problem as long as the absolute minimum of eight can be hit combined with races on at least three different continents.

      2. @bascb They already did, but given the pattern exemptions are understood to have taken (items essential to Britain continuing to function during COVID-19), it is unlikely that they’d be extended to sports events.

    12. Interesting – that would make a lot of sense @gt-racer.

      If the “circus” stays together (seperated per team where possible) takes some quarantine time, have everyone tested in between several times and only returns to the UK when there is time for a break, that should work. I would have thought keeping them seperated from much of life like that could have convinced the UK government to loosen up on the quarantine requirement – most other European countries are currently more likely to require quarantine for anyone COMING from the UK than would make sense the other way round!

      Keeping everyone on the road more or less non stop for 6-8 weeks is really brutal though. I really feel for the groundcrew who have to go through those almost “warlike” conditions.
      I hope they get to an agreement with the UK government, since F1 will clearly have to do a lot to keep personell seperated where possible and regularly test them, actually making the “being in the UK” the riskier bit than the travelling.

      If they manage to do an Austrian double, then maybe a German double right after Austria, that means already 4 races under the belt in June/July. If they plan to have two doubles in AbuDhabi and Bahrain (in December), that means 8 races already. They would then have 4 months to do for example, say a Suzuka double header (for 12) and see if they can get a US race double in for 14 and one other place (Sochi doubleheader? – I am sure Putin would be up to it), leaving enough time to return home in between. If they fly from Japan to the US as a double header, it would leave boatloads of time.

      1. If it weren’t a complete mathematical impossible to set up due to time constraints, Monaco would have been perfect – lockdown there is, from what I understand, lifted there…

        As it stands, the thing to do would be to either host two races in the same weekend, or two in the same week with a day of separation. I’d probably have the midweek races use Tuesday practise/qualifying and Wednesday race for consistency of race day and also surprise (possible exception: the first race could have extra practise on Monday so everyone can get back into the groove). This minimises the “non-race” time in each “cluster”, possibly enabling a quadruple-race stint taking 3 weeks through the European season. My proposal (asterisked dates are when races were scheduled to happen):

        Block 1 (running total: 3 races, 2 countries, 1 continent):

        5*/8 July – Austria
        12 July – I’d try to get the Dutch GP here, but Spain or France (sorry, Mediterranean GP) would be acceptable otherwise, in order of preference in this slot. It would only be one race because otherwise there would be problems in getting the quarantine requirements met. If time constraints make that impossible, I’d rather cut Austria’s second race than lose a second distinct track in the block.

        Block 2 (running total: 5 races, 3 countries, 1/2 continent(s)):

        2/5 August – Germany (Hockenheim), because I don’t think Hungary will be able to host on its given date. Otherwise Canada, Spain, or Mediterranean GP. This block is single-race because otherwise the Belgian/Italian block that follows doesn’t work and it would be a shame to disrupt it unnecessarily.

        Block 3 (running total: 9 races, 5 countries, 1/2 continent(s)):

        26/30* August – Belgium
        6*/9 September – Italy

        Block 4 (running total: 12 races, 7 countries, 2/3 continents):

        30 September/3 October – I’m getting the vibe Singapore, and maybe even Russia, might not be possible, so moving Hungary back into this slot should work. Otherwise, it’s whichever of Dutch/Spanish/Mediterranean/British Grands Prix hasn’t happened yet and can be scheduled in. (Might be a bit late for Canada, if it didn’t get the previous “open slot”)
        11* October – Japan. Probably needs to be a single-race event to make the next block work (unless it is decided the other race in this block is single to enable a race in Japan the Wendesday prior to its originally-scheduled round).

        Block 5 (running total: 15 races, 10 countries, 4 continents):

        1* November – Mexico GP. Not 100% sure any, let alone all, of the three races can happen due to “second wave” risks (especially Mexico since part of the venue is an emergency hospital right now…), but scheduling them all in is the most likely way to avoid trouble (provided Liberty and the FIA are canny and exercise cancellation rights in good time should they be needed). All are single-header because otherwise transport will be a mess.
        8 November – USA GP. If wave 2 doesn’t interfere, then most likely we can get crowds at the venues. Maximising this, as well as streamlining travel in the block, is why I’ve moved the race back 2 weeks in this plan.
        15* November – Brazil GP. Again, if possible.

        Block 6 (running total: 19 races, 12 countries, 4 continents):

        6/9 December – Azerbaijan. Cooler than usual but still more or less feasible.
        16/20 December – China. Similar comments apply

        Block 7 (running total: 23 races, 14 countries, 4 continents):

        10/13 January – Bahrain
        20/24 January – Abu Dhabi, to preserve the finale.

        (I realise there’s more races in this plan than in version 1 of the 2020 calendar, but margin is needed in case of trouble. I don’t like the vulnerability in Block 5 (the Americas rounds) though. Improved ideas welcome.

        1. Something in that beat could work, I guess @alianora-la-canta. Off course the blocks would have to be somewhat flexible to react to possible second or third waves, so it makes sense to plan for more than will end up being utilised.

          So far it looks highly unlikely the Dutch GP will be able to be staged before september, I see no signs of the Netherlands allowing for an exemption to make it go ahead. That is why I think Hockenheim might be a contender in that double with Austria.

          I was also thinking about midweek sencond races – that way they can get in some races to build up a basis witout having to visit more tracks. Hungary is probably a question of whether Orban will want to show off that he is in control.

          PRetty much the same would go for Sochi. The reason I think Sochi might go ahead is 1. Putin showing off, and having (for now) the money to do so and 2. Sochi is pretty far away from most places, no one visits it anyway etc, so it might be deemed safe enough to do.

          I agree that Mexico will likely be a stretch, since it is in the middle of the city and currently being used as emergency facilities. For Canada, I would guess any time after September will probably be too late in the season, and Singapore is almost certainly not going to happen either.

          I am sceptical about CotA being in there, but then again it might just be possible and the promotors certainly need the cashflow to keep afloat. Not sure how much leverage they will have to make the government agree there though. And F1 needs an American race to go ahead, so if neither Brazil (the president is gunning for a rival track, it is bang in the middle of a huge city and Brazil might take quite a while to get through this) nor Mexico can be there, and it is too late in the year for Canada, that leaves it a “must have” for F1 to be a world championship. (I don’t think “middle east” counts for 1 of the three contitents a World Championship must be held in).
          That was why I proposed pairing Cota with Japan.

          1. @bascb You have many good ideas. “Middle East” definitely does not count as a separate continent – the Americas would have to stage a race for the championship to be recognised. I think all the Americas options needs to be left in, so that there are maximum opportunities to make one of them happen.

            Unless of course the 2021 Australian GP becomes the last/penultimate round of an extremely long season that will more or less smoosh together with the 2021 season. (This could be done and still have 2021 feature 3 continents), but that would be a desperation move.

      2. @bascb The distances between Suzuka and COTA is too vast for them to take place on subsequent weekends.

        1. @bascb I meant to type ‘distance’ in singular form, but plural also works as they are two ways to travel between North American and East-Asian places.

        2. I don’t think they need be on subsequent weekends though @jerejj.

    13. Alonso wants a booty call after 2 years of not having any sweet F1 action…

      F1 fans think they’re getting back together….

      Girl, he wouldn’t even complete a full season wit you! This is the guy who retired running vehicles because he’d rather not finish last…. He ain’t no good for you F1!

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