Of all the sports inconvenienced by the sports stoppage, Formula One has to be right up there with the best of them.
The logistical nightmare of sending cars around the world, as well as the safety and wellbeing of the drivers and technical staff, makes the return of F1 almost nigh-on impossible.
This week, more Grand Prix races have been cancelled – the Japanese Grand Prix at the legendary Suzuka circuit, as well as Singapore and Azerbaijan, have all been abandoned for this season. Japan isn’t currently welcoming visitors from overseas, while the street tracks of Marina Bay and Baku cannot be built safely with the current restrictions in place.
It means that the schedule for the 2020 campaign looks very sad indeed, with other cancellations meaning that there are just eight races set to go ahead. The itinerary is as follows:
|1||Austria||Red Bull Ring||July 5th 2020|
|2||Styrian||Red Bull Ring||July 12th 2020|
|3||Hungarian||Hugaroring||July 19th 2020|
|4||British||Silverstone||August 2nd 2020|
|5||70th Anniversary GP||Silverstone||August 9th 2020|
|6||Spanish||Circuit de Barcelona||August 16th 2020|
|7||Belgian||Circuit de Spa||August 30th 2020|
|8||Italian||Autodromo di Monza||September 6th 2020|
The FIA’s solution so far has been to cluster events together geographically. Austria will play host to the opening two rounds prior to a short hop across to Hungary, and then Silverstone will welcome two weeks of action – including the one-off 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Dates in Spain and Belgium follow, before the season – as it stands at least – comes to an end in Monza in September.
Chiefs have claimed they still plan to host 15-18 Grand Prix races in 2020, even though the first ten outings of the season have already been cancelled.
Rumours suggest the Hockenheim circuit in Germany could host one or two races in September, while there are still hopes that Russia and Canada can be visited prior to their respective winters.
But hopes for a visit to the USA and Brazil, currently two of the worst-hit countries in the world for the virus, appear to have been scotched.
“If we judge the health and safety risk is too high, even if we can meet the obligations of the country, then we may not go there,” Ross Brawn, the managing director of F1, said.
Closing In On a Legend
Even amid the uncertainty, one consistent theme has remained in place: Lewis Hamilton is an odds-on favourite to win the World Championship.
While pre-season testing was curtailed, his Mercedes appeared to be streets ahead of Ferrari, Red Bull and co, and it only seems to be a matter of when – rather than if – he will win a seventh drivers’ title.
That would bring him level with the great Michael Schumacher at the top of the all-time standings, and while he is getting on a bit at 35 most would expect Hamilton to carry on and look for a magnificent eighth.
Media rumours suggest that the British driver will sign a new contract with Mercedes at the end of the current season, and that will provide him with the perfect platform to become the most-decorated F1 driver in history.