Former Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg believes Max Verstappen’s chances of winning the 2020 world title continue to grow the shorter the season becomes.

With the provisional calendar putting the Canadian Grand Prix as the 2020 F1 opening round on June 14, despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, F1 bosses are assessing the best way to reshuffle the season to fit in as many races as possible.

F1 CEO Chase Carey has already targeted 15-18 races in 2020, but many believe the actual number of races could be smaller if the organising body opts to not also alter the 2021 season – effectively meaning this season must end next January at the very latest.

But with a shorter season already guaranteed through the cancellation of the Australian and Monaco rounds, Rosberg feels that will help “a surprise champion” as he tips Verstappen to remain the biggest threat to the ongoing domination by Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton.

“It increases the chances of there being a surprise champion if there’s fewer races because then of course luck plays a bigger role,” Rosberg told Sky Sports News.

“I always thought that Red Bull and Max Verstappen were really going to be in the hunt this year and really be able to annoy Mercedes in a big way and give them a run for their money.

“If there was a shorter season maybe his chances would be even bigger.”

F1 is considering a number of ways to bulk out the 2020 season once it can safely restart including multiple back-to-back race weekends or even holding two races at the same venue on the same weekend.

A ‘super season’ has also been suggested which would see the 2020 and 2021 seasons combine to make one longer F1 world championship.