F1 aims for full programme of racing in 2021 despite pandemic uncertainty

Giles Richards
·2-min read

Somewhat remarkably Formula One’s chief executive, Chase Carey, is optimistic the sport will be able to host a full season of racing in 2021. Despite the restrictions that could be in place because of the pandemic, Carey has laid out F1’s desire to build a full calendar similar to that intended for 2020, to ensure the sport maintains a global presence.

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F1 has managed to host 11 grands prix and is targeting 17 for the season by establishing strict safety protocols. Races have all thus far been held in Europe, however, with only three having been able to host a small number of fans. A total of 22 meetings were due to be held this season and a similar number are now intended for next year.

“We’re going to plan for a 2021 calendar that, again, looks pretty much like a normal calendar, like the calendar we would have planned in January,” Carey said. “We’re planning for events, we’re planning to have fans, we’re planning to have a season that I don’t know if I’d say is normal but certainly gets us back to normal, closer to normal, on that track.”

With travel restricted this year, F1 is using several venues not ordinarily on the calendar, including Mugello, Imola, Portimão and Istanbul. This has been a matter of expediency, however, and there is no intent for them to be repeated in 2021. Many of the flyaway events cancelled this year are major contributors to F1’s revenue.

“We are a global sport,” Carey said. “The reality was this year that we haven’t really raced globally, we’ve largely raced in the European zone. We want to get back to making sure we have our races in the Americas, we have our races in Asia, we have our races spread across the globe. That is important to us as a global sport.

“Certainly, historic European tracks are an important part of the sport, but I think you’ll see a more balanced set of events across the globe on the 2021 calendar.”

Carey conceded that all plans remained subject to any further developments in the pandemic.