Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 8 April 2020

F1 summer break moved forward to free up space in calendar for postponed races

The mandatory shutdown period, typically in August, has also been extended from two weeks to three

The 2020 Formula One season will have no summer break after teams voted to bring the break forward to March-April as a solution to find space in the calendar for races postponed by the coronavirus outbreak.

The first four races of the season have either been cancelled or postponed, with the season-opener in Australia called off on the eve of race weekend. The Chinese Grand Prix - the fourth race of the year - was postponed ahead of the season, before Bahrain and the inaugural race in Vietnam followed suit.

The mandatory shutdown period, typically in August, has not only moved forward but has also been extended from two weeks to three. The move by F1 and motorsport governing body FIA has been taken with the aim of using August dates for rescheduled races.

"In light of the global impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus currently affecting the organisation of FIA Formula One world championship events, the World Motor Sport Council has approved a change to the 2020 FIA Formula 1 sporting regulations, moving the summer shutdown period from July and August to March and April and extending it from 14 to 21 days," FIA said in a statement.

"All competitors must therefore observe a shutdown period of 21 consecutive days during the months of March and/or April. The change was supported unanimously by both the F1 strategy group and F1 commission."

This F1 season was scheduled to feature a record 22 races, although the sport's managing director Ross Brawn said this week he is confident at least 17 or 18 races will still be held.

"I'm pretty optimistic that we can have a good 17-18 race championship or more," Brawn told Sky Sports. "I think we can squeeze them in. But it depends on when the season will start."

Global coronavirus cases rose to 218,000 on Thursday and more than 8,800 dead, while more than 84,000 people have recovered from the virus.

Updated: March 19, 2020 09:24 AM

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