F1 expects 2021 season to be 'close to what we would have planned'

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Formula 1 expects 2021 to be "close to what we would have planned" despite lingering concerns over Covid-19.

The sport is still yet to finalise this year's revised calendar with 13 races currently confirmed and as many as five more possible, this after the first 10 Grands Prix were wiped out by the coronavirus.

Still, that isn't stopping F1 from looking ahead to next year and considering if changes may be needed again as countries in the northern hemisphere, in particular, fear a winter spike in cases.

"At this point, we're planning on a 2021 that is probably not quite, but pretty close to the 2021 we would have planned," F1 CEO Chase Carey commented on Monday.

"Now, planning anything in the virus era has obviously got complexities, because we don't know what are going to be the issues in terms of limitations on fan attendance.

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"One thing we do believe is that the world has to start to function in the ways we know the world. We do believe 2021 can be pretty close to back on the curve, or on the slope, we had planned for the business.

"But none of us have the visibility we'd like with the virus. I guess, excluding unexpected continuing encumbrances from the pandemic, we expect in 2021 and 2022 to be largely back on the curve we would have been on from sitting at the beginning of this year, with '19 being a year of growth, and '20 being a further year of growth."

The financial impact of Covid-19 on F1 was also laid bare in the latest quarterly report, which revealed income crashed from $620m between April and June last year to just $24m this year after all races in that period were cancelled.

"Since there were no events held during the second quarter of 2020, revenue recognition was limited, with recognised primary F1 revenue in the period consisting only of the elements of sponsorship contracts associated with non-race related rights," Liberty Media noted.

"No race promotion fees nor broadcasting fees were recognised. Similarly, other F1 revenue decreased due to zero revenue being generated from the Paddock Club and other event-based and television production activities."

No teams received payments either "since such payments are recognised on a pro-rata basis as races take place on the calendar".

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And Carey admitted the disruption caused to the company's growth plan for F1 is unprecedented.

"We have been clear, we were expecting 2020 to be another significant step forward, and 2021, to continue to be a further step forward," Carey said on a conference call with Wall Street analysts on Monday.

"So we were very much on a trajectory to moving, and it wasn't going to be in 12 months, but moving to delivering the type of growth that got us to a place.

"I think we felt at the beginning of this year, we were on a good track, and we've got a pretty predictable business model.

"So without the virus, we were very much moving to deliver the type of long-term growth that we had talked about. Obviously, the virus turned it all on its head."