South Korea Could Come To The Rescue Of The Coronavirus Hit F1 Season

The rules state drivers only need to complete eight races to win the Championship
09:55, 26 Mar 2020

Huge question marks continue to hang over the possible completion of the Premier League season, the Olympics have been postponed and Formula One is no different, with the first six races postponed as country after country goes into lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus. There is just no way around it.

However, for fans of F1, there is a chance, a slight one, that a campaign of sorts, could go ahead before the year is out. While the Monaco Grand Prix was cancelled, the Australian too, rules state that for a World Championship season to be declared there must be eight races completed.

It all depends on timing and the severity of coronavirus in each nation. However, economic factors still exist and, while the sport looks set to lose more than a billion pounds, according to many reports, honouring race-hosting fees and broadcast rights will be second on the list of priorities behind racer and spectator health.

Some countries in Asia, where the virus started, are further ahead in containing the disease and so it may be possible that life could go back to normality sooner rather than later in those places, allowing for races to go ahead.

South Korea, for example, has not held a Grand Prix since 2013. However, in order to keep the competition alive, one would assume that with the infrastructure, a return would at least be considered but only when the world is running at a certain level again can a season start. Right now, there are just too many restrictions. For starters, travel is key, while some flights are still going ahead.

For this to happen, Europe and the situation there looks vital. The Holland Grand Prix, Hungarian, Belgian and Spanish could all take place over the summer, though as it stands, that could prove too soon. Then, away from this continent there is Singapore, the States, Mexico. So much depends on the ferocity of coronavirus in each part of the world, the spread and the aftermath.

Regardless, there is another spanner in the works. Due to F1 contracts and agreements, the final race must take place in Abu Dhabi currently scheduled to take place at the end of November. There are many complications beyond just the current pandemic. The longer this goes on, logistically this becomes more of a struggle. Push backs and rearrangements can be made but the more time dwindles, the more impossible the task looks.

According to BBC Sport, F1 teams have waived their usual rights that they do not have to be consulted on rescheduling so at least everybody is on the same page and moving in the same direction.

There is also the option of racing behind closed doors. Until it’s postponement, there were plans for the Bahrain Grand Prix to go ahead before the coronavirus pandemic rapidly spread.

It could have gone ahead without fans, and while the local economy would take a hit, at least the show would go on and the race would have been streamed to millions across the globe currently stuck in their homes. However, with isolation and quarantine now paramount, racers and their teams have been restricted from travelling.

Had it been possible, Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundlestill  insists the circuits would ‘go broke’ without spectators.

“The thought for great circuits like Silverstone, running a race but having no crowd, they just can’t do that, they’ll go broke frankly,” he said, as reported by PlanetF1. “So we need to wait until we can get a crowd and do this properly.” 

As well as ensuring races go ahead, there are also doubts over the integrity of the competitive nature of the sport. Similarly to football, where fans are split on whether leaders Liverpool should or shouldn’t be awarded the Premier League trophy, Lewis Hamilton could equal Michael Schumacher’s record though there will always be an imaginary asterix in the record books should the Brit not complete a level of races. Of course, there are more races now than yesteryear, but it will still be incomplete in some eyes.

Sadly, while a brilliant F1 season could be possible, with a lot of things right now, we are just going to have to wait and see.