F1 Managing director Ross Brawn says the season might not get underway until October this year, but that the sport will still be able to hold a world championship.
With the COVID-19 pandemic currently sweeping through the world of sports, F1 has been very heavily impacted and has seen the first nine races of the season either postponed or cancelled.
For an F1 season to be counted as a world championship, the rules state that there must be a minimum of eight races held over the course of the year.
Brawn, who has been speaking to Sky about the season and when it could continue, said that October is the deadline for it to get underway.
“If you wanted a drop-dead point (deadline), it would be October,” Brawn said.
“But then there’s always the possibility we could run into next year, and that’s being explored – could we stray into January to finish the season.”
So far, the only one of the nine grands prix to be cancelled permanently this season is the Monaco GP. The other eight have been merely postponed.
F1 hope to get the other eight races done at some point, but as Monaco’s cancellation proves, it’s much harder reschedule races that take place on temporary tracks, i.e street circuits.
By that logic, the Azerbaijan grand prix could be in trouble this season, as could the Singapore GP and the brand new Vietnam GP in Hanoi.
Brawn views October as the very latest the season could get underway but, if it was to be that late, the season would only be the bare minimum eight races long.
To get 19 races into the schedule, the season would realistically need to get underway in July.
Brawn says that, with all that’s going on, they might need to host the races without any spectators – but that “being able to put on a sport and entertain people would be a huge bonus.”
“We’re looking at the logistics of a closed race, how we would get the people there, how we would protect them, how we would make it safe,” Brawn said.
“We could have a very enclosed environment where the teams come in on charters (flights), we channel them into the circuit, we make sure everyone’s tested, cleared, there’s no risk to anyone and we have a race without spectators.
“That’s not great but I think it’s still better than no racing at all.
“I think we have to remember there’s millions of people that follow the sport sat at home… to be able to put on a sport and entertain people would be a huge bonus with this crisis we have.”