Eight of Formula 1’s 22 grands prix have either been cancelled or postponed but Chase Carey is still hoping for a revised calendar of “15 to 18” races.
On Monday Azerbaijan joined the growing list of countries placing their grands prix on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While Australia and Monaco have been cancelled, Baku – along with Bahrain, Vietnam, China, Holland and Spain – is aiming for a place on a revised calendar later in the year.
Formula 1 chief Carey is hoping to squeeze in many of those six postponed races as possible.
“Over the past week, Formula 1, the ten F1 teams and the FIA have come together and taken rapid, decisive action as part of our initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“While at present no-one can be certain of exactly when the situation will improve, it will improve and when it does, we will be ready to go racing again.
“We are all committed to bringing our fans a 2020 Championship Season.
“We recognise there is significant potential for additional postponements in currently scheduled events, none the less we and our partners fully expect the season to start at some point this summer, with a revised calendar of between 15-18 races.
“As previously announced, we will utilise the summer break being brought forward to March/April, to race during the normal summer break period and anticipate the season end date will extend beyond our original end date of November 28-29, with the actual sequence and schedule dates for races differing significantly from our original 2020 calendar.”
But with rumours suggesting Canada could be the next to put its grand prix on hold after pulling its athletes from the Tokyo Olympic Games, Carey concedes the start of the 2020 season is a moving target.
“It is not possible to provide a more specific calendar now due to the fluidity of the current situation,” he said.
“But we expect to gain clearer insights to the situation in each of our host countries, as well as the issues related to travel to these countries, in the coming month.”
Last week the Formula 1 teams and Carey agreed to bring the summer break forward with some teams already taking their 21-day holiday.
Carey says that will allow him to schedule grands prix during August, when hopefully Formula 1 is back racing.
“With the benefit of the FIA’s announcement and agreement in principle to freeze technical regulations throughout 2021, no summer break and factory shut downs being moved forward to March / April the sport now intends to race through the period normally set aside for the summer break and fulfil lost events from the first part of this year,” he added.
“This flexibility offers an opportunity to evolve the sport, experiment and try new things. That may include initiatives such as expanding our esports platform, developing more innovative content like Netflix’s Drive to Survive, and other creative ways to drive ongoing value for the sport’s sponsor partners, broadcast partners, race promoters, teams and fans – the ecosystem of our fantastic sport.
“Between Formula 1, the teams and the FIA, working with our key stakeholders, we are planning and fully committed to returning to the track at the earliest opportunity to commence the 2020 season.
“We will continue to take advice from health officials and experts, as our first priority continues to be the safety and health of our fans, the communities we visit and those within the Formula 1 family.
“We’re confident we’ll all get through this and see better days, ahead, and, when we do, we will ensure that everyone invested in this sport at every level feels rewarded.”