Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey says the championship is holding discussions with circuits not originally on the 2020 calendar over the possibility of holding races this year.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced a suspension to racing after the opening 10 races of the 2020 F1 season were either postponed or cancelled, though championship officials hope to get the campaign going with a behind closed doors Austrian Grand Prix in early July.

In a conference call discussing F1’s Q1 results which were released on Thursday, Carey said the series is exploring “all options” in its bid to get the season off the ground and revealed that tracks which were not initially on the 2020 schedule could step in to stage races.

“We have been working tirelessly since Australia and we’re actively engaged with our promoters in putting together a potential 2020 race calendar,” Carey explained.

“We have two primary challenges: Identifying locations where we can hold a race and determining how we transport all necessary parties and their equipment to that location for a race.

“We’re in discussions with all of our promoters as well some tracks that are not currently on our 2020 calendar to make sure that we explore all options.”

Hockenheim, which dropped off the calendar following last year’s German Grand Prix, is understood to be one of the tracks in talks with F1 over the possibility of hosting an event in 2020.

The Hockenheimring is an attractive option for F1 due to already holding an FIA Grade 1 requirement to stage grand prix racing and because it is one of the closest venues to the seven British-based F1 teams.

Having successfully slowed the spread of coronavirus, Germany has also relaxed its lockdown measures, while Bundesliga football has been given the green light to resume this month - with all matches played behind closed doors.

Other tracks have thrown their hat into the ring to potentially host F1 races without spectators, including Imola in San Marino and Portugal’s Portimao circuit, which was recently awarded an FIA Grade 1 licence.

Although Carey admitted there was still a “remote possibility” no races could take place this year due to the coronavirus crisis, he remains confident about F1’s plan to launch the season with back-to-back races in Austria on July 5 and July 12.

“Our goal is to launch the season on the weekend of July 4th and 5th in Austria,” Carey said. “It is likely that we race the weekend of July 11th and 12th in Austria as well.

“We are in the advanced stages of putting together a schedule of additional European races through early September, including races during the traditional August break.

“We expect the early part of the calendar to be races without fans but we hope to be able to allow fans to attend in the latter part of the year,” he added.

“We are working with the FIA, local authorities and other experts to identify the steps and procedures necessary to safely transport everyone to each race location and to enable those individuals to operate and be housed in a safe and secure manner.

“We feel increasingly positive about the number of locations that will be able, and want, to hold races this year.”

Pushing the 2020 season into January remains an option for F1 but Carey stressed the preference is to finish in mid-December prior to the Christmas break.

 

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