Race promoters want financial help from Formula 1’s bosses if they are to make their plans for an 18-race calendar in 2020 possible.
The season was supposed to start three weeks ago with the Australian Grand Prix, but the race was eventually cancelled after a McLaren employee tested positive for COVID-19.
Since then the following seven rounds have also been shelved, with the Monaco Grand Prix joining Australia in being cancelled outright.
Currently the Canadian Grand Prix on June 14 would be the first race of the 2020 season, but teams have handed full control to the FIA and Formula 1’s owners Liberty Media to piece together a new schedule for 2020.
CEO of the Formula One Group Chase Carey hopes to put a new calendar in place of up to 18 races, but it appears that if that is going to happen, then promoters are going to want some help balancing the books.
“They have to be willing to accept lower fees if they want their promoters to be healthy,” one of the race organisers is quoted by The Independent.
“We reserve hundreds of buses which have to be booked 90 days before the race and have cancellation fees.
“We have another contract for the traffic because we hire hundreds of police officers over the race weekend and there are cancellation penalties for that too.
“Then there’s the setting up of all the temporary grandstands and hospitality tents which are ordered and negotiated six to eight months before the race and are set up 60 to 90 days ahead of it.
“Once the race is six weeks away we are spending more than a million euros a week to prepare.”
At this stage ticket sales are also an issue – the promoter said most of them have been sold by this point in the year.
“We usually sell most of our tickets now,” says the race organiser.
“Most of the sales are to out of town visitors and they don’t usually make last minute plans. Around 80% of them book more than four months ahead. So the key selling time for us is now.”
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix is among the races waiting to be rescheduled, but their organiser Arif Rahimov said that some of the delayed races will need to start putting tickets back on sale now for whenever that new date will be.
“I know, for instance, that some promoters start next race sales immediately after their event,” he said.
“This means that they would have missed 3 to 6 months of sales during the period of uncertainty.”
Ariane Frank-Meulenbelt, managing director of officially-licensed F1 ticket agency GPTicketshop, added that: “Ticket sales are down, not only down but have stopped all together for all motorsport events worldwide.
“Understandably people have other things to worry about than F1 or MotoGP and also no one knows when and where we will start racing again and how soon free travel will return.
“This, in combination with an economic shutdown worldwide, is not an ideal scenario for ticket sales. None the less we remain optimistic that once the pandemic slows down or is over we will return to normal sales figures, whether this will be latter half of 2020 or only in 2021 remains to be seen.”