Chase Carey has confirmed that Formula 1 is in talks with circuits which were not on the original calendar about hosting grands prix in 2020.
While the Austrian Grand Prix is pencilled in as the belated season-opener on its original date of the first weekend of July, followed by another round at the Red Bull Ring a week later, F1 is also looking outside the 22 venues where it was to have raced this year.
“We've been working tirelessly since Australia and we're actively engaged with our promoters in putting together a 2020 race calendar,” said Carey, F1's CEO, in a conference call with investors.
“We have two primary challenges; identifying locations where we can hold the race, and determining how we transport all necessary parties and their equipment to that location for a race.
“We're in discussion with all of our promoters, as well as some tracks that are not currently on our 2020 calendar, to make sure we explore all options.
“Our goal is to launch the season on the weekend of July 4th and 5th in Austria, and it's likely that we race the weekend of July 11th and 12th in Austria as well.
“We're in the advanced stages of putting together a schedule of additional European races through early September, including races during the traditional August break.
“We hope to have a calendar with 15 to 18 races.
“We expect the early part of the calendar to be races without fans, but we hope to allow fans to attend in the latter part of the year.”
The comments come shortly after the Hockenheimring, which had dropped off the calendar after hosting the German Grand Prix last year, expressed an interest in seeing a race in 2020, as have Imola and Portimao.
Carey also advised that the possibility of the current season spilling into 2021 remains, but is not the intent.
“We're obviously going to take a fairly long break through the holidays, you're not going to race in the holiday weeks, but it is an option available to us that we again have to work through with our promoters and an array of parties to get there,” he explained.
“But it is something we've considered and talked about. I would say that our goal is to finish a couple of weeks later than our original date, but to finish in mid-December, ahead of the holidays.”
F1 also hopes that the disruption caused by COVID-19 will not have a major impact on next year's calendar.
“Our goal is to have 2021 look like the 2021 we planned back in January,” declared Carey.
“Ultimately, we have renewals to put in place, and we have some ongoing discussions with a couple of new races that we think would be a positive enhancement to the business for fans and shareholders.”