Formula 1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn says the 2020 season is now likely to begin in Europe albeit behind closed doors.
The evolving coronavirus pandemic has caused the first nine races of the championship to be either postponed or cancelled, with the Canadian Grand Prix being the most recent race to be delayed after an announcement on Tuesday.
Speaking with Sky Sports, Brawn said the season is likely to begin in Europe. But with current travel and crowd restrictions furthering complicating the start to the championship, Brawn also acknowledged that the sport may begin with TV-only events.
“Travel for the teams and travel for everyone involved is going to be one of the big issues,” said Brawn. “You could argue once we get there we could become fairly self-contained.
“Our view is probably a European start will be favourable and that could even be a closed event. We could have a very enclosed environment, where teams come in on charters, we channel them into the circuit, we make sure everyone is tested, cleared and that there is no risk to anyone.
“We have a race with no spectators. That’s not great, but it’s better than no racing at all. We have to remember there are millions of people who follow the sport sat at home. A lot of them are isolating and to be able to keep the sport alive and put on a sport and entertain people would be a huge bonus in this crisis we have. But we can’t put anyone at risk.
“We’re looking at the organisational structure which would give us the earliest start. But also the ability to maintain that start. There’s no point having a start and then stopping again for a while. It’s most likely to be in Europe. It’s conceivable that it could be a closed event.”
You will have to go back to 1966 for the last time a Formula 1 world championship began in Europe when the season-opening was held in Monaco.
Brawn then said that the sport’s management team is continuing to evaluate the possibility to run a ‘Super-Season’ that would conclude early next year.
“But then there is always the possibility we could run into next year. That’s being explored. Can we stray into January to finish the season? There are all sorts of complications, as you can imagine, with that.
“If we were able to start at the beginning of July we could do a 19-race season. [It would be] tough – three races on, one weekend off, three races on, one weekend off. We have looked at all the logistics, and we think we can hold an 18-19 race season if we can get started at the beginning of July. The choice is between those two numbers.”