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Brawn: 2020 F1 season likely to start in Europe, could be behind closed doors

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SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 17: Ross Brawn, Managing Director (Sporting) of the Formula One Group,

Formula 1 motorsports boss Ross Brawn says the 2020 season will likely begin in Europe – and potentially behind closed doors – when it eventually gets under way, after the delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, the Canadian Grand Prix became the latest race to be postponed because of the virus, the ninth race to be postponed or cancelled, with F1 bosses working with promoters to create a revised calendar for a time when it is possible to once again go racing.

Brawn said it was Formula 1’s desire to go racing as soon as possible – if anything to give fans some entertainment in difficult times – even if that means holding some of the initial events without fans.

READ MORE: F1 and coronavirus FAQ - Everything you need to know

CLOSED DOOR RACES POSSIBLE

“Travel for the teams and travel for everyone involved is going to be one of the big issues,” said Brawn, who was speaking to Sky Sports. “You could argue once we get there we could become fairly self-contained.

“Our view is probably a European start will be favourable and that could even be a closed event. We could have a very enclosed environment, where teams come in on charters, we channel them into the circuit, we make sure everyone is tested, cleared and that there is no risk to anyone.

We have a race with no spectators. That’s not great, but it’s better than no racing at all.

Ross Brawn

“We have a race with no spectators. That’s not great, but it’s better than no racing at all. We have to remember there are millions of people who follow the sport sat at home. A lot of them are isolating and to be able to keep the sport alive and put on a sport and entertain people would be a huge bonus in this crisis we have. But we can’t put anyone at risk.

“We’re looking at the organisational structure which would give us the earliest start. But also the ability to maintain that start. There’s no point having a start and then stopping again for a while. It’s most likely to be in Europe. It’s conceivable that it could be a closed event.”

We have looked at all the logistics, and we think we can hold an 18-19 race season if we can get started at the beginning of July

Ross Brawn

19-RACE SEASON POSSIBLE WITH JULY START

Brawn said it would be credible to have a 18-19 race calendar, if it was possible to start racing in July – with a series of triple headers followed by a weekend off.

“Eight races is the minimum we can have a world championship, [according to] the FIA Statutes,” says Brawn. “We could achieve eight races by starting in October. So if you wanted a drop dead point it would be October.

“But then there is always the possibility we could run into next year. That’s being explored. Can we stray into January to finish the season? There are all sorts of complications, as you can imagine, with that.

“If we were able to start at the beginning of July we could do a 19-race season. [It would be] tough - three races on, one weekend off, three races on, one weekend off. We have looked at all the logistics, and we think we can hold an 18-19 race season if we can get started at the beginning of July. The choice is between those two numbers.”

TWO-DAY WEEKENDS POSSIBLE

F1 bosses and promoters are also looking at a number of two-day Grand Prix events to ease the pressure in a compressed calendar.

“We may have some two-day races in order to meet the logistical needs,” says Brawn. “For instance China looks like it will probably be a two-day race if we go ahead with it because to get there and get away to the next event we are planning, it could easily be a two-day race."

Stay tuned to Formula1.com for all the latest news on the 2020 F1 calendar.

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