E s is the crucial question for the premier class of motorsport. What will the 2020 Formula 1 calendar look like after the corona pandemic has completely overturned the original schedule? In which countries can you drive at all? And how do you get at least 15 races together in order to fill the prize pot with the money from the TV companies?
Formula 1 agrees on one point. It's better not to drive than just hold a few grands prix. Because then the expenses would exceed the income. Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul explains: 'The worst from an economic point of view would be if we drive one, two, three or four races and then stop. If we can't create the conditions for a season, it would be better not to start. We need a reasonable season to generate enough income so that we can bear the costs of racing. '
The moving target
For the Formula 1 organizers, Chase Carey and Ross Brawn, as well as the FIA around President Jean Todt, are currently concerned with risk management. You carefully check the options. The daily political decisions and developments of the corona crisis make planning difficult. The coordinates have to be constantly realigned.
An example: If a country relaxes the regulations for entry and quarantine, it can suddenly come back on the Formula 1 agenda. But what if the crisis worsens again and restrictions are tightened again? Then an actually lashed Grand Prix could quickly fall off the calendar. And then another venue would have to step in.
It currently looks as if the corona crisis is subsiding. At least in Europe, where Formula 1 wants to hold its races by September. That's good news. The races in Austria (July 5th and 12th) are realistic. England are planning a double strike on July 26th and August 2nd. Financially, the organizer has now reached an agreement with Formula 1. He is said to have initially demanded the same amount from Liberty that he normally has to pay to the rights holders. Silverstone has now come down from the high horse. Now it's up to politics. As long as it quarantines every person entering the country for two weeks, there can be no race. Belgium, on the other hand, has the conditions for a Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps at the end of Augustcreated.
No race at any price
Hockenheim is also in the raffle. The loose talks from April have become more intense over the past two to three weeks. In the meantime, the Formula 1 management and Hockenheim have discussed the possibility of holding one or even two races on the Baden GP track.
The underlying idea is obvious: Formula 1 cannot only take place on racetracks that were anchored in the original calendar. Otherwise you would restrict yourself too much. In Russia, Brazil and the USA, for example, there is currently no end to the crisis in sight. New infections with Covid-19 are consistently high in these countries.
Hockenheim is basically open-minded. From the camp of the track operator it is said: 'We would really like one or two races. We would like to have four.' The latter is of course meant as a joke. 'Regardless of whether we get a race this year or not, we are proud that Formula 1 contacted us even though we hadn't made the big money in recent years.'
One Hockenheim cannot and cannot afford Grand Prix at any price. Therefore, the question arises who will pay for the organizational costs. That adds up to a few million. That's just one of the many question marks about a possible return to the racing calendar. Another would be: Are ghost races even allowed to take place in Germany without spectators? Despite smaller teams, Formula 1 will pitch its tents with 1,500 to 2,000 people on a racetrack. In this case the permission of the politicians is required.
Also other interested parties
The weeks after the second Spielberg race up to October are possible. That sounds like a few possibilities. But be careful: Hockenheim cannot hold free every weekend for one or two possible Formula 1 races. It is said from the command center that you would accept a lot for the premier class. But Hockenheim will not go along with every effort.
The route operators have set themselves the goal of absorbing the Corona-related failures from the first half of the year as much as possible in the second half of the year. In other words: You will not put off other interested parties who want to rent the track or postpone events without real planning security from Formula 1.
Hockenheim could organize a race itself in a short time. But the operator needs more lead time to plan when which event can take place on the racetrack. We are talking about two to three months. That's why Hockenheim would like to have more certainty. You can't block out hoping for a Grand Prix X weekend or two and end up empty-handed. That would result in financial losses that one cannot afford twice after such a crisis.
In the next one to two weeks, the talks with Formula 1 are to be deepened. As of today everything is possible: either, or. Incidentally, there has been no talk of possible frame series like Formula 2 so far.