Ross Brawn reveals he retains hope for an 18-race Formula One season in 2020

Formula One managing director Ross Brawn retains hope that the majority of the 2020 season can still be salvaged – despite losing the first two months of the campaign to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The season had been due to get underway this past weekend in Melbourne, Australia, but the race was cancelled outright last Thursday after a McLaren employee tested positive for COVID-19. 

Coronavirus fears have already led to the postponement of races in Bahrain, China and Vietnam – and look set to claim upcoming fixtures in the Netherlands and Spain.

However, per, Brawn seems optimistic that the bulk of the season – originally scheduled for a record 22 races – could yet be staged.

“I’m pretty optimistic that we can have a good 17-18 race championship or more,” said Brawn on the current situation. “I think we can squeeze them in. But it depends on when the season will start.”

Realistically, the earliest that the season could potentially commence given the current world health crisis would be at either the Monaco Grand Prix on May 24 or in Azerbaijan on June 7. In a best-case scenario, this would leave Brawn and his colleagues with five races to rearrange – a task which would seem borderline impossible at this point.

Brawn, though, believes that a few of these races could still take place if the sport’s traditional August break is scrapped.

“Maybe we take a hiatus, we take a pause — and then we use that opportunity to say right, for this time at the beginning of the year we won’t have any races, we’ll look at relocating those races later in the year.

“I think by freeing up the August break, we give ourselves several weekends where we can have a race. I think we can build a pretty decent calendar for the rest of the year…It will look different, but it will still preserve a good number of races, and they’re exciting races. So the season’s going to start later, but I think it will be just as entertaining.”

As determined as Brawn may be to protect as much of the 2020 calendar as possible, he will very much need the co-operation of drivers and teams to make his plan a reality. In order to fit in the number of races Brawn is hoping for, race weekends would need to take place on a back-to-back basis several times.

Aware of the strain this would place on all involved, Brawn suggested that he intends to condense each race week schedule to reflect the increased workload.

“One thing we have been talking about is two-day weekends, and therefore if we have a triple header with two-day weekends, that could be an option. I think what we need from the teams this year is flexibility.

“I think they’ve got to give some scope to do these things. Because we are in very unusual circumstances, and we’ve got to make sure we’ve got a season that gives a good economic opportunity for the teams…For sure we’re going to have a quiet start. I’m sure the teams will be flexible to allow us to fit those things in.”

As one of the sport’s custodians, Brawn naturally wants to ensure that the impact of the coronavirus on the F1 season is minimised as far as possible. Truthfully, though, nobody yet knows when it will be safe for sport worldwide to resume.

We all hope that the outbreak can soon be neutralised – and Brawn’s plans for a revised 2020 campaign put into place.

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