Ecclestone doubts Liberty plan to rescue 2020 F1 season

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Former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has cast doubt on Liberty Media's plan to rescue the 2020 season.

So far this year, eight races have either been cancelled or postponed due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, with the Canadian Grand Prix in June the first event scheduled.

Still, F1 CEO Chase Carey is hoping to produce a 15-18 race championship starting this summer, using triple-headers and a condensed weekend format.

"I'd be very, very, very surprised if they managed to achieve that," he was quoted by

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"I hope they do. I really hope they do. They could run three or four races at the beginning of next year and still count to the 2020 championship.

"The problem is where are you going to have them? Where the teams can go and the promoter wants to run a race.

"It's all very well making the calendar, which you can do while you wait. The big problem is getting the promoters to want to run the race."

Ecclestone himself claims he would have already cancelled the 2020 season in its entirety but believes Liberty's plan may work if they make financial guarantees.

“If you were the promoter and I was still in charge, I would say we want to stage your race in November," he told PA News offering a hypothetical situation.

“Normally you would never have a race in November so the promoter will turn round and say ‘How the hell am I going to make it work? Financially it is just not possible. The weather isn’t good at that time so people will not come to the circuit. It is not going to be easy’.

“That means Liberty has to be prepared to say whatever happens they will bankroll the race.

“If it doesn’t go ahead because things get worse they will cover all of the expenses laid out, and, if it does go ahead, they will make up whatever losses the promoter might have incurred for moving their slot.

“But I think it will be difficult for Liberty to jump up and say they are going to do that. It depends how much money they want to put behind it.”

Perhaps a bigger issue facing F1 than finding races that are prepared to change the date is ensuring all 10 teams are still in a position to compete when the situation improves.

“Even a smaller team like Williams, they have staff to pay and bills to pay, and it's not easy for them if they are not getting their revenue from racing," Bernie told the Daily Mail.

"In older times when people didn't have such big staff and they ran into problems I'd always bail them out, give them a while to hand me the cash back or sometimes we forgot to collect the money… Now it's different scale money.

“It's a different world, too. Then it was on a very personal basis. They would ring up and say, ‘Bernie can you help?’ Like dear Frank [Williams]. Nobody would then say, ‘You helped Frank, how about me’.

“You did what you thought was right. Liberty is a very successful company and Mr [John] Malone [Liberty Media chairman] is a very, very good business operator and he will look to see if he needs F1."

It is for that reason then that when Bernie was asked if thought coronavirus was the biggest threat F1 has ever faced, he simply replied: "Yes."