It has been announced that Formula One (F1) has planned an eight-race, behind-closed-doors European leg to begin the season.
The plan was drawn up by Liberty Media, the owners of Formula One, and may be announced within a week. However, if there is a second wave of Covid-19 infections within the UK, this would seriously affect the chances of any racing taking place within Europe.
The plan would see the 2020 season starting on 5 July, with two grands prix in Austra, with another two following at Silverston, and one in Budapest. Following this, Barcelona or Hockenheim would open a triple-header, with Spa and Monza after this, running from August to September. Currently, there are no plans for the Dutch grand prix to return.
The F1 European calendar is now subject to change, depending on whether or not the British government imposes a 14-day quarantine on all those entering the UK. t is expected that a decision on the matter will be announced by the end of the week.
Regardless of the decision, F1 is asking that its teams and personnel by exempt to the quarantine. If the quarantine is enforced, the Silverstone races will not be able to take place, and will instead most likely take place at Hockenheim.
If there is a rise in Covid-19 cases in the UK and lockdown measures are strengthened, the European season of F1 will be unable to take place, as seven of the 10 race teams are
Should coronavirus reassert itself in the UK and lockdown be reimposed, the season in Europe would be over before it has begun, given that seven of F1’s 10 teams are based in the UK and would therefore be unable to operate, which is a ‘major worry’ for everyone involved in the sport.
There is some urgency for the calendar to be confirmed, as racing is currently planned to go ahead on 5 July and the required preparations will soon have to begin. The calendar is likely to be confirmed as soon as a decision is reached regarding quarantine rules in the UK.
A source from F1 said:“By the time the F1 shutdown finishes there will be a firm calendar, because people will have to know what they are doing when they get back to work.
“Certainly by the end of next week I expect everything to fall into place for the European calendar.”
The schedule for races outside of Europe is still under discussion, with F1 hoping up that to 16 races will be able to be held.