Supercars CEO Sean Seamer has said the series is committed to delivering all 14 rounds of the 2020 championship “irrespective of dates.”
Supercars thus becomes one of the last major global motorsport series to have suspended their respective season. A move that, while largely expected, displaces the series from many other major Australian sporting competitions. The National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL) and the Hyundai A-League have all chosen to play on, albeit behind closed doors, amid the coronavirus outbreak.
As of yesterday evening, the nationwide total of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Australia exceeds 375, making it one of the worst affected countries outside mainland Europe and Asia.
However, Supercars remains adamant that all 14 rounds of the 2020 Championship will be run regardless of dates, a notion that no other large motorsport series is considering.
Formula One have all but ruled out the possibility of racing the first six rounds of the championship, with most sources agreeing the championship will run a shortened calendar beginning in June. Likewise, the IndyCar championship has agreed to begin the championship in May should the pandemic settle.
Thus, when compared elsewhere, Seamers claims are very bold. His address to the public stated:
“Supercars’ priority is to deliver the 14 round 2020 championship for our fans and partners, irrespective of the dates. Bathurst will obviously proceed on its scheduled date. We have a plan for how we can make that happen and will begin discussions with all of our stakeholders over the coming days to lock this in.”
Fortunately, the series was always going to have a significant mid-season break for the Olympics – which is also beginning to look highly unlikely to go ahead as scheduled. Similarly, every other round is split three weeks apart which draws the season out from February well into November.
However, the rounds from Tasmania, New Zealand and Perth were all mentioned as postponed and “not cancelled.” Seamers stressed that everything will be done to reschedule these three rounds.
With the coronavirus outbreak now entering a phase of perpetual infections, it may be a very long time before any motorsport is functioning fully. The question begs, would Seamers stand up to his claims of ensuring a full season goes ahead if there become further postponements?
There is the potential that the 2020 season could drag on over to the start of 2021. Casting our minds to 2018 and Supercars was seriously considering starting a season as early as January.
Out of mere misfortune due to covid-19, that option now looks slightly more rational. Since 2012, the first race has been held no earlier than February 28 and the last no later than December 8.
But now a Christmas, New Year season finale is not completely off the table.