While Formula 1 bosses are weighing up all options to salvage the 2020 season during the continued run of postponed races, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes an early July start could become the main target.

Yesterday the Canadian Grand Prix became the ninth race to be either cancelled or postponed on the 2020 calendar, leaving the French round currently as the 2020 opener on June 28.

But with coronavirus prevention measures and travel bans still in place across Europe and in other areas around the world, F1 teams have agreed to extend the ongoing shutdown by another two weeks which effectively means no F1 activity until at least halfway into May.

Like the rest of the world, F1’s 2020 plans will be dictated by coronavirus developments but once the crisis eases organisers will look to start the season as soon as it is possible to do so in safe conditions.

With F1 CEO Chase Carey aiming for 15 to 18 races for 2020, it adds time pressure on starting the season to allow a suitable schedule to fit races in before the end of the year – while running races into the start of 2021 also remains an option.

Following video meetings between F1 chiefs, the FIA President Jean Todt and team bosses, Ferrari team principal Binotto confirmed all teams will make sufficient preparations for the season ahead covering a variety of plans and hopes to return to racing in early July.

“F1 is certainly trying to organise the best championship that they can do this season, when it eventually starts in early July, if that will be possible, but we cannot have any confirmation on that at the moment,” Binotto told Sky Sports News. “I think by the end of May we will have a clearer picture.

“I think it is in the interests of everyone to start racing when we can, and knowing when that would be possible, and trying to have as many races as we can. But I think right now it is simply too early to have a clear picture on what will be the future.”

Binotto also underlined F1 requires at least eight races for this season to be seen as a complete world championship under FIA rules but he is optimistic the sport’s organisers can thrash out a schedule which puts on the maximum number of races possible - even if it results in experimental event formats like double race weekends.

“We know that from the sporting regulations firstly to have a world championship we need at least eight races but I think everyone is trying to look for more than that,” he said.

“I think what is important is for us to be ready and be flexible. I think Chase and his team will be capable of putting in place the best championship that we can have.

“From our side it is really about doing whatever is needed; short race weekends, double races, whenever it will finish and putting all the races together. I think whatever it will be, it will be important to be flexible and make sure we can have good races for the fans.”

On the provisional 2020 F1 calendar, the French GP at the end of June is part of a back-to-back with the Austrian GP on July 5 before the British GP which is set to take place on July 19.

The Silverstone race is seen as one of the easier races to organise given seven out of 10 F1 teams are based close to the circuit in the United Kingdom, while Silverstone officials are also open to different formats including running a reverse circuit layout race.

But major UK sporting events remain under threat due to coronavirus measures, following the cancellation of The Open golf tournament which had been set to take place at Royal St George’s in Kent on the same weekend as the British GP. The Wimbledon tennis tournament, set to take place between June 29 and July 12, has also been cancelled for this year.

 

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