Formula 1 chief executive Chase Carey is cautiously optimistic about the possibility of bringing fans back to races in the autumn, after the sport’s stint of eight European events.
F1 will put itself in gear next month in Austria and remain on the continent all through the summer. However, all events will be held behind closed gates in order to comply with local safety measures.
But F1’s move later this year to the Asian, American and Middle East regions will hopefully allow race organisers to fill – at least partially – their grandstands.
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“Fans are incredibly important,” Carey said in a video interview published on the official F1 website. “In many ways we compete for fans. So we’d love to have fans at these events.
“But I think we recognise the safety requirements and the risks that still exist, and we have to take steps towards that.
“We’d like to have fans in all honesty as soon as we think we can do it in a safe way for everybody involved, the fans and all those involved in the sport.
“We’ve talked about goals to have fans at the races in the fall. It may not be back to stands that are packed to the rafters, but limited capacity fan events.
“So I think it is a goal to be able to be able to include fans. But it is a goal realistically to do it in a way when we believe we can do it safely for everybody.”
While the first eight races of the 2020 season have been confirmed, the remainder of the campaign is still in the process of being worked out.
Carey is still hopeful of boosting this year’s tally to at least 15 races, but the F1 boss isn’t expecting more clarity on the schedule until the end of June.
“We’re not going to give a deadline right now,” he said. “With the fluidity of the situation, a deadline would create pressures which may not be right and realistic for the situation, so we’re thinking of goals.
“Our goal would be before the end of June to, if not complete the rest of the calendar, to have a handle on it.
“We know what we would like to try and do. We have other options if some things don’t come together. We do expect there are races which are on the calendar which will probably still not occur. I think we certainly have options.”
China and Vietnam are both rumored to be at the top of Carey’s re-instatement priorities, while the promoters of the Mexican Grand Prix said that they expect their event to take place as scheduled on November 1.
Doubts have emerged over Suzuka following the cancellation of the MotoGP round in Japan, but Azerbaijan, Russia, the United States, Brazil, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi are all expected to be slotted in to the second half of the season.
“We’re in uncharted waters,” added Carey. “We certainly continue to have a lack of visibility beyond a fairly short timeframe.
“We’re engaged with all our promoters and we’re in active discussion with all of them, all of them are struggling to have the same visibility.”
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