Coronavirus Has Left F1 Stalled On The Grid, But There's Hope For The 2020 Season Yet
As one of the few sports in the world that operates on a truly global scale every year, Formula 1 was always likely to suffer more as a result of the massive impact the Coronavirus epidemic has had on the global economy.
As travel bans and domestic lockdowns have become more commonplace, the sport has quite naturally been brought to a gigantic, screeching, brake lock-up of a halt. How funny to think that just a week ago, we woke on Friday morning with the faint flicker of a hope that the planned Australian Grand Prix would go ahead.
Alas, it wasn't to be. The Grand Prix's cancellation was essentially the first domino to fall in a series of events that saw the perception of the Covid-19 crisis shift dramatically in Australia. Since then, the nation has all but gone into lockdown, shutting its borders and banning gatherings of more than 100 people.
Meanwhile, as the situation has slowly grown more serious around the world, the F1 world has had to follow suit to fit the times.
While it was initially thought that it would only be the Australian and Chinese Grand Prix that fell victim to the initial global lockdown that's occurred due to the pandemic, the Monaco Grand Prix has now followed suit, announcing that they will be cancelling the race as it's not tenable to try and reschedule it for the following year.
As things stand, it now seems as if 5 of the 2020 championship's opening rounds will now be rescheduled. The Dutch and Spanish GPs were also postponed alongside the inaugural Vietnamese Grand Prix, meaning that a championship start sometime after May is likely. The FIA also made the decision to move forward and extend F1's planned two week summer break, meaning that for the next three weeks F1 is essentially in a period of suspended animation.
"At the meeting there was full support for the plans to reschedule as many of the postponed races as possible as soon as it is safe to do so. Formula 1 and the FIA will now work to finalise a revised 2020 calendar and will consult with the teams, but as agreed at the meeting the revised calendar will not require their formal approval," said Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey.
“This will give us the necessary flexibility to agree revised timings with affected race promoters and to be ready to start racing at the right moment."
It's thought that the moved races will now fill out the time previously reserved for the aforementioned summer break.
In addition to this, the planned 2021 roll-out of Formula 1's regulations, which would have resulted in an entirely new-look generation of cars (see the image above), has been pushed back a year. Next year's competition will now be run with teams using 2020-spec chassis, while certain technical guidelines will likely remain the same.
This does, however, offer something of a silver lining in terms of spending. While in 2020, teams were largely free to spend as they wished to develop their 2021 cars, next year could still see the introduction of a budget cap on development, meaning the teams going into 2022 may have to develop their cars on a more even playing field.