Formula 1 has moved away from its “end of May” target to begin the 2020 season, as CEO Chase Carey acknowledged the series “cannot provide specific answers” over when its opening grand prix will take place.
The worldwide COVID-19 crisis has already forced the postponement of the first four rounds of the world championship.
The Dutch GP at Zandvoort scheduled for May 3 is currently the earliest race date that hasn’t been officially affected, its organisers – as well as those of the subsequent week’s Spanish GP – have both confirmed they are in talks with the FIA over what appear to be likely postponements.
F1 and its governing body FIA have previously referred to an “end of May” target for the beginning of the season in official statements.
However, an open letter to F1 fans released on social media on Tuesday, Carey has now admitted the current coronavirus situation is too fluid to publicly commit to any approximate date.
“We recognise everyone wants to know what comes next for Formula 1 in 2020. We cannot provide specific answers today given the fluidity of the situation” :: Chase Carey
“First and foremost, our priority is the health and safety of the fans, teams, and organisations in Formula 1, as well as wider society,” Carey wrote.
“We apologise to those fans affected by the cancellation in Australia, as well as the postponement of the other races to date.
“These decisions are being made by Formula 1, the FIA and our local promoters in rapidly changing and evolving circumstances, but we believe they are the right and necessary ones.
“We also want to extend our thoughts to those already affected, including those in the Formula 1 family.
“We recognise everyone wants to know what comes next for Formula 1 in 2020. We cannot provide specific answers today given the fluidity of the situation.
“However, we plan to get the 2020 championship season underway as soon as it’s safe to do so.
“We are engaging with experts and officials on a daily basis as we evaluate how we go forward in the next few months.”
The Azerbaijan GP in early June has been privately mooted as the likeliest start point for the 2020 season.
Yet on Monday, the Automobile Club de Monaco – which organises the Monaco Grand Prix, slated for May 24 this year – said in a statement that its F1 race was still “expected to take place as originally planned”.
It said the same for the Grands Prix de Monaco Historique, which is set to take place two weeks prior to the F1 event.