McLaren anticipating a 'glitch' in F1's 2020 schedule plans

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McLaren is anticipating Formula 1's 2020 calendar plans will hit a "glitch" as the sport tries to make up for lost races.

Last week, F1 CEO Chase Carey confirmed ambitions for a 16-18 race season between July and December on a regionalised basis, so starting in Europe, heading gradually east to Asia, jumping to the Americas before concluding in the Middle East.

However, McLaren CEO Zak Brown does expect that number to be slightly ambitious and the amount of travel to be quite a bit less.

“Eight [Grands Prix] is enough [to qualify as a World Championship] and I’m optimistic we’ll get in more than eight,” he told Autosport this week.

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“Formula 1 is looking at a schedule of 16 to 18 [races], kind of 15 circuits, 18 races. I’m a little bit more pessimistic than that, I would place my bet on 14-15 races at 10 circuits.

“I think we will do a couple of races in Austria, a couple of races at Silverstone and, if we start running into issues with travelling, then I think you could see doubling up at some other races.

“I don’t think that’s the intention, but I’m going to assume that we’re going to hit a glitch, somewhere along the way."

The reason for the McLaren chief's caution is the uncertainty of how the coronavirus situation will develop over the summer, with countries like Russia only now seeing cases skyrocket.

“Even though Austria is ready and maybe Silverstone is ready behind closed doors, we don’t know if the second wave [of the virus] will come," Brown noted.

“If we want to go to Asia or America; I think it’s going to be when we get on planes and have to fly overseas where I think the risk will start to potentially get greater.

“There’s a conversation about more races in Europe."


Indeed, circuits like Hockenheim, Portimao and Imola are all offering to host races should F1 be interested.

However, even if the calendar falls some way short of the original 22 rounds, Brown downplayed any impact on the legitimacy of the championship.

"The schedule was only ever 16 races for a long time, so, to me, 14-15 races, is going to be a very complete championship," he concluded.