With five of the opening seven Formula 1 grands prix of 2020 postponed and two others cancelled, and with teams running this year’s cars in 2021, it begs the question – should F1 consider an elongated campaign through to the end of next season?
The idea of an 18-month season, mooted between GPFans writers following an off-the-cuff remark, seems less ridiculous and increasingly more sensible as time goes by due to the grip taken by the coronavirus pandemic.
Following a conference call between F1 bosses and team principals on Thursday, it was decided the technical regulation changes for 2021 would be pushed back by a year, and the 2020 cars would run throughout next season.
Given that aerodynamic developments and improvements to the power units will be allowed but changes to the chassis and other technical components will not, it is highly likely the outcome of the 2021 season would mirror whatever unfolds this year.
There is also every likelihood you would have bored fans and a dip in the live television ratings.
However, if instead of rushing to squeeze in each race by lining up triple headers and, as suggested by Martin Brundle, quadruple headers, F1 slotted in three or four of the postponed events into the minimal gaps available while holding the rest off until February or March 2021, a ‘Super Season’ of around 35 grand prix could unfold.
In order to push the 24 Hours of Le Mans to the end of a season, the World Endurance Championship ran an 18-month campaign across 2018 and 2019, seeing a spike in interest. Admittedly, there are far fewer races per year in WEC than in F1.
But don’t forget, with the chassis remaining the same, pre-season testing in February would not be required. Instead, a postponed race that runs in warmer climes could potentially be held early in 2021.
There are hurdles, naturally, such as McLaren’s switch from Renault to Mercedes power units that is due to take place at the end of this season.
And then there numerous new driver deals to resolve, with Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel all out of contract at the end of this year, while teams will also have numerous sponsorship arrangements in place that will not be renewed into 2021.
No-one said such an idea would be easy, but a ‘Super Season’ could turn a loss-making global crisis into a potentially very profitable outcome.
As Lewis Hamilton recently said, “cash is king”, and if a ‘Super Season’ could bring in a few additional sponsors, then the idea may yet turn the head of F1 CEO Chase Carey.