Formula 1 chief Ross Brawn has confirmed holding races behind closed doors is a genuine option with provisional plans being weighed up, while he’s still confident of a 19-race 2020 season if action starts in July.

Yesterday, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto hinted F1 is targeting a July start date for the delayed season while all options on race formats and scheduling remain open.

The Bahrain Grand Prix had been preparing to host its race without fans during the coronavirus outbreak, before the race was eventually postponed as the health crisis worsened worldwide, and F1’s head of motorsports Brawn says a behind closed doors race remains a popular option if it means starting the 2020 season in a safe manner and at the earliest possible point.

“Our view is probably a European start will be favourable and that could even be a closed event. We could have a very enclosed environment, where teams come in on charters, we channel them into the circuit, we make sure everyone is tested, cleared and that there is no risk to anyone,” Brawn told Sky Sports.

“We have a race with no spectators. That’s not great, but it’s better than no racing at all. We have to remember there are millions of people who follow the sport sat at home. A lot of them are isolating and to be able to keep the sport alive and put on a sport and entertain people would be a huge bonus in this crisis we have. But we can’t put anyone at risk.

“We’re looking at the organisational structure which would give us the earliest start. But also the ability to maintain that start. There’s no point having a start and then stopping again for a while.

“It’s most likely to be in Europe. It’s conceivable that it could be a closed event.”

Following crisis talks to save the F1 season, in which two-day race weekends were suggested, Brawn also laid out if the campaign can begin in July then the new calendar would put together “three races on, one weekend off” which would provide logistically capabilities and enough time to put on a 19-race season – effectively the whole calendar minus the Australian GP and Monaco GP which have already been cancelled plus one other race.

“If we were able to start at the beginning of July we could do a 19-race season. [It would be] tough - three races on, one weekend off, three races on, one weekend off,” Brawn said.

“We have looked at all the logistics, and we think we can hold an 18-19 race season if we can get started at the beginning of July. The choice is between those two numbers.

“Eight races is the minimum we can have a world championship, [according to] the FIA Statutes. We could achieve eight races by starting in October. So if you wanted a drop dead point it would be October.

“But then there is always the possibility we could run into next year. That’s being explored. Can we stray into January to finish the season? There are all sorts of complications, as you can imagine, with that.”

Currently, the 2020 season opener will be the French GP scheduled for June 28 as part of a back-to-back with the Austrian GP on July 5.

 

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