Several teams competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship are calling for a reduced 2021 calendar due to the financial effects of the ongoing pandemic.
A regular eight-race schedule has been described as economically unfeasible by teams relying on pay drivers, citing the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Speaking with Motorsport.com, United Autosports team-owner Richard Dean said a five or six race calendar would be a more viable option for 2021.
“If we end up with eight races again, the WEC will have underestimated what is going on in the world.
“We have to have fewer than eight races: whether that’s just five or six or a schedule that just focuses on the bigger races, I don’t know.
“With the WEC due to end in November [in Bahrain] and likely to begin in March at Sebring, that is already going to be logistically challenging. But the bigger problem will be getting people to write out cheques to go racing.”
Sam Hignett, boss of Jota Sport re-iterated Dean’s concerns regarding the schedule, calling for “a more cost-efficient schedule”.
That means everything travelling by sea freight to bring down the travel costs, as well as fewer races.
“As much as the rest of 2020 is scary, the 2021 season is even more scary because the wealthy guys who pay for the racing are going to be conservative with their money.”
Plans for 2021 remain unclear as the winter calendar format was abandoned after Le Mans was pushed back to September due to the pandemic.
A reduced schedule has been hinted at by series boss, Gerard Neveu, who has suggested that the number of races would be decided as the economic situation becomes clear.
The only certainty regarding next season’s calendar will be Le Mans’ return to its original mid-June date.
It is also the intent of the WEC to begin the season at Sebring in March on the same bill as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.