JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - Formula 1 is considering a number of options to stage the 2020 racing season that is affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
This year's racing season is originally scheduled to open in Melbourne on March 14, but it is likely to start as soon as on June 7 in Azerbaijan.
As many as 22 series that should have been held this year, the record number of races in a season, but seven grand prix at the beginning of the season have been suspended, including the Monaco Grand Prix that was eventually withdrawn from the 2020 calendar.
"We are in uncharted territory. I am optimistic if we can hold 17-18 races or better," F1 managing director Ross Brawn said to Skysport on Friday (3/20/2020).
"I think we can tuck the races in the season. However, it all depends on when this season can start."
The summer break session was also moved sooner from August to March or April for 21 days, during which the teams had to stop all activities related to racing and developing their cars during that period.
This year's championship season will also undergo a 6-month sprint with a compact schedule, rather than the usual nine months.
To save this year's calendar, there is an option to hold two races on the same weekend.
"This is possible," Brawn said, as quoted by AFP, referring to the Hungarian Grand Prix (August 2) and Belgium at Spa (August 30) which is three weeks away.
Another option is shortening the race week from three to two days.
F1 had previously experimented with holding three races in a row in three weeks in 2018, but the experiment lacked enthusiasm from the teams who found their staff exhausted.
"I think what we need from the teams this year is flexibility, I think they should give themselves the opportunity to do this," Brawn said.
"Because we are in an uncharacteristic situation, we have to make sure the current season will provide a good economic opportunity for the teams."
With a shorter season, as a consequence, organizers and teams are faced with not too much income.
"The cost is not too low if you hold 18 races instead of 22," said Alfa Romeo team leader Frederic Vasseur.
"Also, our income will decrease, we will have fewer races, we will get less commercial rights."
This will be a complicated season for the teams because they have not gotten a clear picture when the competition could begin in the midst of the current health crisis.
Most of the F1 teams are based in Europe, two of them, including Ferrari, are based in Italy, the country most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe.