Formula One Group CEO Chase Carey has admitted that the originally scheduled 22-race calendar for this year could be reduced to just 15 Grand Prix events due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
The season's opening eight races have already been cancelled or postponed due to the crisis, most recently including Baku's event on June 7, despite Azerbaijan earlier being slated as the most likely re-start date.
Montreal, scheduled for just a week later, is also looking very unlikely after the Canadian Olympic Committee has pulled out of the Olympics which are currently scheduled for late July.
As per f1-insider, AlphaTauri principal Franz Tost said: "Nobody can really say when the season will start. But the earliest will be July."
Tost's team factory in Italy has had to close down in recent days as it is classed as a non-essential business.
Carey's announcement is, therefore, a welcomed one, despite the severity of the situation, there is plenty of optimism to be had about the upcoming months.
Writing in a new open letter to fans and stakeholders, Carey explained:
"While at present no-one can be certain of exactly when the situation will improve, it will improve and when it does, we will be ready to go racing again.
"We recognise there is significant potential for additional postponements in currently scheduled events, nonetheless our partners and we fully expect the season to start at some point this summer, with a revised calendar of between 15-18 races."
It has been speculated that Carey has reduced the target to 15 races because anything below that number might allow for TV broadcasters to pull out of their valuable deals with the sport.
Carey added that the situation is, "An opportunity to evolve the sport, experiment and try new things.
"That may include initiatives such as expanding our esports platform, developing more innovative content like Netflix's Drive to Survive, and other creative ways to drive ongoing value for the sport's sponsor partners, broadcast partners, race promoters, teams and fans - the ecosystem of our fantastic sport.
"We're confident we'll all get through this and see better days ahead, and, when we do, we will ensure that everyone invested in this sport at every level feels rewarded."
Formula One's immediate future is becoming increasingly uncertain during these unpredictable times, but one thing is for definite, once it's all over, we'll be watching the races more than ever.
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