There is no peace for the Formula 1 World Championship in this world of Covid and pandemics – Last Sunday was supposed to run the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, again skipped for the second year in a row due to covid. More races are set to be cancelled, Liberty Media and the FIA look for backup plans.
Formula 1 will be back next week in France at Paul Ricard, meanwhile, after the loss of Singapore, there are likely to be other races at risk of cancellation due to the pandemic. Liberty Media is taking action with solutions and an alternative calendar.
After Montreal and Singapore, the races in Japan, Mexico and Brazil, as well as Australia, are very much at risk of being cancelled. Motorsport.com Italian journalist Roberto Chinchero reports that after the Russian Grand Prix, scheduled for 16th September in Sochi, the calendar is likely to undergo major changes.
The Singapore round on 3rd October has already been cancelled, and the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka on 10th October could also be at risk. These cancellations are of course due to covid and are still uncertain according to the opinion Sky Sports F1, who further believe the Grand Prix of Mexico on 31st October and 7th November for Brazil are likely to be removed.
Stefano Domenicali, boss of Liberty Media’s Formula 1 operation and Ross Brown, the technical lead of Liberty Media F1 are working to try to prevent and foresee alternative races in order not to lose grand prix on the planned calendar. Indeed, they could be helped by the Austin circuit in the USA, which would be ready to host more than one race, similar to that of the double race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
“A double header at our track is a possibility,” confirms Bobby Epstein, manager of the Circuit of the Americas to ESPN,
“but we haven’t signed any agreements yet. I can say, however, that on our part there is maximum availability, we are a permanent circuit and we have no problem hosting more races.”
However, it’s hard to understand how it all fits together. In the Americas, there will be a back-to-back-to-back with three races in three weeks: USA, Mexico and Brazil. If the latter two are not missed, Austin would have to make the two races on 17 and 24 October, a real challenge for the teams and media who cover the sport.
“If the Suzuka trip is skipped,” writes Chinchero, “it is likely that Liberty Media will look for a European venue to cover the October 10th date (with Istanbul always at the top of the list),”
While it is not excluded that before the grand finale, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, scheduled for December 5th and 12th respectively, there could be a return to Bahrain at the end of November, for another double header race on the Shakir track, as was done last year.