Former Pirelli Motosport head Paul Hembery has called out F1’s ambitious plans to announce a 15-18 race schedule for the 2020 F1 season, saying it should have used the moment to cancel the season altogether and focus on a revamp.

Hembery, who was a familiar and influential figure in the F1 paddock until 2017 through his role with F1’s control tyre supplier, believes it is ‘reckless’ of F1 to portray it will be business as usual if and when the season kicks off with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 3-5.

Pointing out forces out of F1’s control make it difficult to present such a rosy future outlook, Hembery goes as far to say it would be more responsible if the sport accepted there could be no season at all.

"How can you make an announcement with so many unknowns?,” he said in quotes published in Spanish publication, Marca “Europe is blocked, so any idea of ​​having races in July would be silly because of the unknowns. The F1 statement should have been the cancellation of the season and working on a Plan B. It's about money and survival, just like any business. F1 is not immune.

"F1 is a multinational, multicultural sport, which even in a small form would take thousands of people around the world. They escaped from Australia by a narrow margin. The solution to the problem will be based on the introduction of a suitable vaccine. We are very far from the general availability of that. Perhaps F1 knows that There is almost no hope that this calendar will really happen.”

Hembery goes on to say that even if teams do survive this period, there is a high risk of companies consolidating their involvement and choosing not to continue in an effort to focus on their core businesses, similar to 2009 when Toyota, BMW and Honda all departed at the same time as a result of the global financial crisis.

“There is now a risk that manufacturers may withdraw as a way to save costs . Their F1 contract would have expired, so when their bosses seek to save 300 million, they might say 'we are out of F1'. "

However, he does believe this is now an opportunity for F1 to take long hard look at itself to revitalise the regulations to a more sustainable model.

“Something good and many opportunities for F1 can come from this crisis. The possibility of building a more attractive and financially sustainable sport that brings more interest to the viewer and puts drivers at the forefront.

“However, it will need some great tricks and vision to do it. It will not be easy, far from beautiful, but now you must face the problems honestly and transparently.”

Marca also claims Hembery speculated the release of positive news was simply an attempt to stop its stock market price from falling further.

 

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