The Azerbaijan Grand Prix, due to take place on 7 June, is the latest race to be postponed due to Coronavirus and Formula 1 CEO, Chase Carey, addressed fans in an open letter about the state-of-play for the 2020 season.
Coronavirus has hit the world with a reckoning, cancelling events left right and centre around the globe, including, as of today the 2020 Olympics. For F1 fans though, it means the postponement of six of the first eight races and the cancellation of two. Of course, with all credit to F1 and the FIA, this is the right decision to protect the tight-knit F1 community from any further risk.
But what does it all mean for Formula 1’s 2020 season?
First and foremost, the biggest impact is the cancellation of two major events. The season opener in Melbourne and this writers personal favourite GP, Monaco. The biggest impact of the cancellations is the loss of championship points, which inadvertently will make the season shorter and therefore, on a positive note, slightly more competitive.
In a letter to fans, Chase Carey addressed concerns about what will now happen in 2020 opening with a defiant statement saying;
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.
The letter stated that the Formula 1 expect the season to now consist of 15-18 races rather than the planned 22, accepting that further races may need to be cancelled or postponed.
For some fans around the world, this feels like a good compromise. Over the past four seasons, the championship has been decided several races before the season finale. However, this year we can expect the racing to continue right up until the final lights go out, hopefully in Abu Dhabi.
Chase Carey did openly admit to the delight of motorsport and eSports fans, that Formula 1 will use the opportunity of lost races to expand their eSports program and deliver new and exciting content like Netflix’s Drive to Survive. In-fact those wheels are already in motion, last Sunday (22nd) saw the inaugural Official F1 eSports race in Bahrain. The grid was packed full of drivers from all different disciplines and celebrities alike, including singer/songwriter Liam Payne and pro golfer Ian Poulter. Whilst the race wasn’t as thoroughbred as a normal Formula 1 Sunday it was a great race to watch with some hilarious crashes and a surprising race winner in Renaults, Guanyu Zhou.
So how does the Formula 1 season look so far?
Currently, the teams are on a mandatory shut down for two weeks, during this period the teams must pause all race and car-related activity. This would normally happen in the summer break in August, but this has been brought forward and extended to 21 days to allow postponed races to take place later in the year.
At the time of writing there has been no further announcements on when we can expect the season to start but you can rest assured, we’ll update you as soon as we hear.