F1 2020 plans being put in place for proposed July season start
Proposals in place for behind-closed-doors double-headers at Austria and then Silverstone to open delayed season
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 27/04/20 4:30pm
Formula 1's plans to start the 2020 season in Europe in July are gathering pace, with behind-closed-doors double-headers understood to be pencilled in for Austria and Silverstone.
As discussions continue in the background, and F1 confirmed it is planning to start the season on July 5 in Austria, Silverstone formally announced on Monday that should the British GP take place, fans will not be in attendance owing to the government's advice on mass gatherings amid the coronavirus crisis.
The French GP, meanwhile, has been called off from its scheduled June 28 slot - the 10th event to be postponed or cancelled.
The Sky F1 team will be discussing all the latest developments and behind-the-scenes news around the sport in a special new live show which airs on Mondays at 2pm - The F1 Show, live on Sky Sports News and Sky Sports Main Event.
Joining Simon Lazenby on this Monday's first edition will be Martin Brundle and Karun Chandhok, plus SSN's F1 reporter Craig Slater. Guests from around F1 include Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer and, fresh from his impressive IndyCar iRacing victory, McLaren's Lando Norris.
So what's the latest on F1's plans?
France's announcement means nearly half of the originally-scheduled 22-race 2020 calendar - 10 events - will now not be taking place on either their scheduled dates, or not until 2021 entirely.
But F1 chairman Chase Carey reiterated in a subsequent statement on Monday they are targeting "between 15-18 races" for 2020 and were "increasingly confident" the season could belatedly begin in Austria on July 5.
F1's officials have been working with teams, the FIA and promoters on different scenarios to start the season in a safe manner, and on controlled grounds, once various permissions have been given from promoters and respective governments.
Sky Sports F1 understands current plans to start the campaign centre on holding a behind-closed-doors double-header across consecutive weekends at Austria's Red Bull Ring.
The season would then move on to Silverstone for two races without fans on consecutive weekends.
Both venues have publicly stated their willingness to hold more than one event.
The intention is then the season to then continue on a territory-by-territory basis, with races in Europe followed by events in Asia, The Americas and finally the Middle East.
"We're targeting a start to racing in Europe through July, August and beginning of September, with the first race taking place in Austria on 3-5 July weekend," said Carey. "September, October and November, would see us race in Eurasia, Asia and the Americas, finishing the season in the Gulf in December with Bahrain before the traditional finale in Abu Dhabi."
While Carey stressed the proposed plans were "obviously subject to change" amid the fluid global situation, he expressed confidence F1 was working on "reliable procedures to address both risks and possible issues" of holding events with personnel.
F1 hope to "publish our finalised calendar as soon as we possibly can".