Why coronavirus isn't the only threat to F1 replanning its 2020 calendar

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

On Thursday, Formula 1 will attempt to reorganise the 2020 calendar in a video conference between Liberty Media and team bosses.

As it stands, officially, only the first four races of the year have been either cancelled or postponed, but the general consensus is, in the coming week or so, the Dutch, Spanish and Monaco Grand Prix's will also join the list of events not going ahead as scheduled.

Indeed, on Wednesday, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported the event at Zandvoort will "definitely" be called off, while in Monte Carlo, hurdles to simply construct the iconic street circuit on time now appear too great, this despite race organisers still reportedly pushing for the event to go ahead.

So that means, when the video meeting gets underway tomorrow, a calendar beginning with the Azerbaijan GP on June 7 is expected to be put forward, though even that race is now uncertain with the country cancelling visas for those travelling for the event.

Even so, beginning in Baku, La Gazzetta dello Sport says F1 hopes to cram in 18 races in just 182 days, concluding with the Abu Dhabi GP on December 6, a week later than previously scheduled.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport offered a similar plan but the finale would be pushed back an additional week until December 13.

To achieve that would mean re-introducing three races from the seven that are expected to be postponed. From them, China, Vietnam, Bahrain and The Netherlands are the four events most expected to be up for consideration.

With the likelihood of no summer break, BBC's Jennie Gow reported teams will undertake a three-week shutdown of their factory operations when they wish in the period between the start of next week and the end of April.

However, while it would free up weekend's during August, she adds some team members are "very angry" at the idea because, though there is no racing now, the impact of the coronavirus means some are not at home with family either as they spend time in quarantine.

Add to that the new calendar is set to include a triple-header or two, which was very unpopular when it happened the first time in 2018, and there's a problem. 

For any changes to the calendar at this point of the year would require unanimous support from all 10 squads, so it would only take one to throw Liberty's plans out of the window.

Also Read:

Then there's another stakeholder that needs appeasing, the race promoters.

To make room for other races later in the year, it is thought events in the Americas could be brought forward or pushed back, along with the Abu Dhabi GP if it wants to maintain its place as the finale.

But while they might be more flexible than those taking place upto September let's say, changing dates partway through the year is still going to be disruptive.

And then, just for good measure, there's possible conflict between races.

For example, organisers of the Belgian GP were already unhappy at the idea of Zandvoort returning to the calendar and potentially taking away fans, so putting those two races back-to-back would be a very tough sell.

The same applies to Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, particularly as the latter will be reselling all their tickets after the race was initially set to be held behind closed doors.

So as F1 tries to look beyond the current coronavirus crisis, there are still more than enough hurdles to overcome in rebuilding the 2020 schedule.