Chase Carey still confident of '15-18' grands prix
F1 chief Chase Carey is hoping to confirm a further seven to ten grands prix in the “new few weeks” to make up what will at least be a a 15-race 2020 championship.
In early June the Formula 1 boss announced an eight-race European leg to begin the 2020 season, starting with this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.
The eight races run from July to early September but what happens after that has yet to be confirmed.
Reports claim Mugello could take slot number nine followed by Imola in an Italian triple header while America, Brazil and Mexico could also feature along with Russia, China, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
None of that, though, is set in a stone.
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While in Carey’s June announcement he stated that he hoped to have the extended calendar locked in by the end of June, it now looks as if Formula 1 will have to wait until the end of July, if not August.
“I think in the next few weeks we will look to land, certainly at least another chunk of the calendar, ideally we’d like to land the whole second half of the calendar,” the American told the official F1 website.
“There are a number of races we already know will be on the calendar. I don’t want to get into piecemeal addressing it, I’d like to address it holistically. But to lock the dates in we really need to figure out what other races will be on it.
“We’ve said 15-18 races and we still feel comfortable with that as a target.
“Right now we have a number of races we have essentially agreed with, we just haven’t firmed the date up. And a number of places we are moving forward with, trying to firm a date up.
“We have a few that are much more up in the air based in circumstances in that country.”
Carey conceded that the part that has still to be decided is the Americas with growing numbers of infections in the United States of America, Mexico and Brazil.
The added health risk of long-haul flights also has to be taken into account as too must the question of spectators at grands prix.
“When you look at the US, Mexico, Brazil, clearly right now they seem to be having a higher incidence of infections than other places,” he explained. “So [we’re] trying to get guidance from these places on what’s possible, what we can do.
“Really we need to know, can we race in a location? Will there be restrictions on our ability to get in and out a location in a functioning way? And to some degree we’re trying to address the fan question. We’d like to have fans at our races. It’s a possibility.
“One of the challenges of looking at a calendar in November is November is four months away. You’re less than four months into the virus, so trying to look forward to where you’ll be in November I understand is hard for everybody. But ultimately we need to plan ahead.
“So there’s a point in time when we have to just put a stake in the ground and make decisions on what we know. I think that’s soon.”
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