Formula One Executive Chairman and CEO Chase Carey has outlined an ambitious plan that would see the competition return to racing across the weekend of July 3-5 in Austria.
In a letter posted on the official FIA website, Carey outlined a plan that would see racing resume across Europe through July, August and the beginning of September, before moving across Eurasia, Asia and the Americas through September to November and finish in the Middle East in December.
Organisers are hoping that 15-18 races can be held during the truncated season, which would finish in Abu Dhabi, and a finalised schedule will be published "as soon as we can".
“The FIA, teams, promoters, and other key partners have been working with us throughout these steps and we want to thank them for all their support and efforts during this incredibly challenging time,” Carey wrote.
“We also want to recognise the fact that the teams have been supporting us at the same time that they have been focusing enormous and heroic efforts to build ventilators to help those infected by COVID-19.
“While we have been moving forward with our 2020 plans, we have also been working hard with the FIA and the teams to strengthen the long term future of Formula 1 through an array of new technical, sporting, and financial regulations that will improve the competition and action on the track and make it a healthier business for all involved, particularly as we engage the issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All of our plans are obviously subject to change as we still have many issues to address and all of us are subject to the unknowns of the virus.
“We all want the world to return to the one we know and cherish, yet we recognise it must be done in the right and safest way. We look forward to doing our part by enabling our fans to once again safely share the excitement of Formula 1 with family, friends, and the broader community.”
Though the first races staged will be without fans – British GP organisers have already indicated that no fans will be able to attend Silverstone should the event go ahead – Carey highlighted a desire to have fans in attendance in the later stages of the competition should it prove feasible.
Carey did, however, note that procedures for teams to enter and operate in each host nation would still need to be worked out in the coming months and that the FIA would only proceed if the organisation was confident that reliable procedures to address possible risks.
“I am extremely disappointed to tell you that we are unable to stage this year’s British Grand Prix in front of the fans at Silverstone,” Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle wrote in a message on Silverstone’s Twitter account.
“We have left this difficult decision for as long as possible, but it is abundantly clear given the current conditions in the country and the Government requirements in place now and for the foreseeable future, that a Grand Prix under normal conditions is just not going to be possible.”
✍️An update from our Managing Director, Stuart Pringle about the Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix 2020. pic.twitter.com/APIXq8F2OS— Silverstone (@SilverstoneUK) April 27, 2020
Unfortunately for fans, the announcement that F1 would resume came too late to save the French GP; the late June race the tenth of the season to be cancelled earlier on Monday in the face of a French Government ban on all major events until the middle of July and travel restrictions in place around Europe.
"Given the evolution of the situation linked to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the French Grand Prix takes note of the decisions announced by the French State making it impossible to maintain our event,” Eric Boullier, Managing Director of the GIP Grand Prix de France, said.
“The eyes of the GIP Grand Prix de France - Le Castellet are already turning towards the summer of 2021 in order to offer our spectators an even more unprecedented event at the heart of the Région Sud.”