With the F1 and MOTO GP season already in disarray, whisperings coming from Downing Street is that the current state of lockdown could continue well into June. So just like Euro 2020 and the Olympics, will the two pinnacles of motorsport cancel their 2020 plans?
With the spread of Coronavirus having affected major countries that are hosts to both forms of racing, what does it mean for motorsports? Well, that’s the thing, no one’s entirely sure. Formula One and MOTO GP aren’t like most other sports. They are not weekly events and are not held in the same place more than once. If anything, they are more akin to a circus.
Teams arrive at the country, city and circuit on a pre-determined date, get their gear unpacked and then from Thursday through to the Sunday, it’s down to business. This entails practices, rounds of qualifying then ending with a climactic race for the fans. After the interviews and afterparty trailers are loaded, it's off to the next country, city and circuit to do it all again in two weeks. This means international travel on a global front, as both types of racing, have more of a far reach than just the shores of the UK.
So, what will happen? There a few different scenarios that could play out, depending on the length of time countries that host rounds of both the F1 and Moto GP season find themselves dealing with; controlling the spread of the virus, and then how long it takes for them to get the back to normality and lay on a Grand Prix weekend.
Scenario one is that both forms of racing start the season in the latter part of the year. And these races take place in countries where the spread of the virus has been radically reduced or negated completely. So, going by data this would mean the F1 seasons first race would be at Singapore’s Marina Bay and the MOTO GP will kick off its season at Thailand’s Chang International Circuit.
At the time of writing, it seems that the worst affected places are Europe and America, and Europe holds the most races on both the bike and car calendar. You then work your way through the season, and going to the least affected countries, giving places like Italy and Spain the time it requires to get everything in place to run the Grand Prix at Monza, Mugello, Catalunya, Jerez, Aragon and Valencia.
Another scenario is that for a World Championship to be considered a World Championship, it must meet criteria of 8 races in a season. If 8 races can be completed outside of the ‘European Hot Zone’ then a champion can be crowned. Not ideal, but an option none the less.
The final option - and probably the most realistic in this current climate - is to cancel the season in its entirety, and like other major sporting governing bodies prepare for the foreseeable future. The situation is too fluid, and the landscape is ever-changing to make even the most calculated decisions.
This also gives teams time to prepare again, as currently drivers like Lewis Hamilton and riders like Manuel Marquez will be in lockdown and will be so for quite some time to come. This means no chance of practising with the new cars and bike with any new modifications. So, scrap the 2020 seasons entirely and look to the positives that a 2021 season could bring.