Formula 1 confirmed, Friday (14), a series of changes to the calendar of upcoming events, starting with the postponement of the Turkish Grand Prix, which had been scheduled for June 13.
With the country entering the UK’s Red List due to the increase in Covid-19 cases, it made that test pointless and had a ripple effect: the French Grand Prix advanced by a week and now it will happen on June 20, and two tests will be held in Austria over the next weekend.
All this maneuver has a clear goal: to keep the calendar’s predictions with 23 races per year. This is because the guide is a great source of income for the class, as well as having commercial obligations with TV rights holders.
The Formula 1 rating is that every effort to not miss dates at this stage of the tournament is important, as there are several events in the second half of the calendar whose achievements are not 100% confirmed.
These tests are those that are performed outside of the European continent or the Middle East, and because of that, they represent a much greater cost for F1. For these events – Japan, Singapore, Australia, USA, Mexico, and Brazil – it is crucial to have a public presence so that promoters can pay the fees agreed with the class.
Currently, the North American test is seen as practically certain, given the state of the epidemic and vaccination in the country, and there is a possibility, even, that the country will receive more than one test. However, there are doubts regarding all the other tests, which had to be canceled last year.
In this context, Turkey appears as an alternative that is still a possibility, which is why the Grand Prix has been postponed and not canceled. The Turkish circuit has already entered the calendar as a reserve after the cancellation of the Canadian Grand Prix, which was originally dated June 13.
The initial idea for F1 was to replace the Canadian stage with some evidence in Europe, possibly in Germany, but preference was given to Turkey for ease of displacement from the previous stage, in Azerbaijan, which is still certain.
The situation in Turkey was complicated after the country was added to the United Kingdom’s Red List, a base for seven of the ten teams on the network. This means that travel to the country should be avoided as much as possible, and on the way back, everyone who has been there must be quarantined in a hotel designated by the government for a period of ten days.
At the moment, Brazil is also on the UK’s Red List, and as in the case of the Turkish scenario, F1’s expectations are that this situation will change in the coming months. In other words, nothing prevents Turkey from being used again as a substitute for some evidence in the second half of the year.
The other track that could be used in the event that any other event is canceled is the Bahrain Trail, which has already hosted the opening phase in March.
With these changes, the championship will have the first three-round run earlier than expected: the French Grand Prix will be followed, on June 20, by two races in Austria, on June 27 and July 4 – the latter being the original date of the Austrian Grand Prix.
Last year, the season began with exactly two races at the Red Bull Circuit, which, although it played in the same circuit configuration, ended up being different due to the rain that fell into the classification.
In terms of audience attendance, the promoters of the French Grand Prix have informed that ticket sales are continuing, but always with the proviso that the final decision will depend on government decisions at a date closer to the race.
The next stage of F1 will be on May 23, in Monaco, with 7,500 people in the stands, a significantly reduced capacity. This will be the first time since the start of the epidemic that this category has run on a street circuit.