Formula 1 boss Otmar Szafnauer says season may start in July

Formula 1 boss Otmar Szafnauer says season may start in July
Speaking to Amanda Davies of CNN Sport, Szafnauer said that the Red Bull Ring, Austria’s Formula 1 circuit, could host the first race of the season as Austria is one of the many European countries that has begin relaxation of restrictions on daily life.
He also stated that Australian Grand Prix could have proceeded safely, but the organizers “made the prudent decision not to run” in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic delayed the start of the season – which was originally scheduled to start in March -, with the Canadian Grand Prix recently becoming the ninth race to be either postponed or canceled.

The Austrian Grand Prix is ​​scheduled to take place on July 5. The rules of F1 stipulate that a minimum of eight races must be organized for a season to be classified as a world championship.

Szafnauer said: “Austria as a country is starting to come out of its blockages slowly but surely, and it is in April.

“So if you can look ahead and say this is happening in April, hair salons and beauty salons and libraries are opening now and maybe the kids go back to school in May, I can see a fanless race in July.

“And if that happens … we can participate in 12-15 races.”

The CEO of Racing Point said that while many races could take place this season, the impact of the pandemic on sport should not be as dramatic as some, like McLaren team director Andreas Seidl predicted. Seidl said last week that the pandemic was a “final wake-up call” for the sport, warning that teams could fall back if no changes were made.

“I think our financial impact will not be so bad this year,” added Szafnauer. “It will always be important, so we still have to save costs. Then, if we can have a full season next year, before we know it – although it has taken a hit – we will be in better shape.”

Racing Point team director Szafnauer said that the Austrian Grand Prix in July could be the first race in the 2020 season.
Szafnauer said the pandemic and its impact on F1 have highlighted “the good margins we are working on financially” and compared what the sport is going through now to what happened after the 2008 global financial crisis.

Cancellations and postponements have already hit teams hard, with most of their income from broadcast offers, hosting and sponsorship fees, according to a recent Reuters report.

“We have seen people quit sport,” said Szafnauer of the impact of the 2008 crisis.

“We have seen new teams coming in that haven’t lasted very long, so we need to make sure that if something like this happens every 10 years, the next one will be in better shape.”

Teams have already agreed to a $ 150 million budget ceiling for the 2021 season to level the playing field, and last week discussed a possible further cut without reaching an agreement.

Szafnauer warned that if these financial precautions were positive, they should not affect the intrinsic nature of F1.

“We are definitely [in better shape] through cost ceilings and perhaps a cap on certain expenses, perhaps also a cap on the development we do, especially costly development. “he said.

“But not at the expense of Formula One DNA.”


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