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F1 2020 season start plans: Martin Brundle, Karun Chandhok's verdicts

The Sky F1 pundits have their say after the sport confirmed proposals to begin the season with the Austrian GP in July.

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Speaking on the F1 show, Martin Brundle and Karun Chandhok give their thoughts on plans to start the season behind closed doors at the Austrian GP

F1 is right to set a 'template' for a targeted return to racing later this year even though the global environment remains uncertain, according to Sky F1's Martin Brundle.

The sport announced on Monday that it was aiming to begin the season behind closed doors at the Austrian GP on July 3-5, with a target of up to 18 races on a region-by-region basis running until December.

And although F1 officials acknowledge that the plans remain subject to change as the coronavirus crisis plays out, Brundle believes they were right to announce tentative targets.

"We had to get a Plan B and get this show back on the road," said Brundle on The F1 Show, the new programme which airs every Monday on Sky Sports News at 2pm.

"Even though we understand in these circumstances that we're currently living in there might have to be a Plan C and even a Plan D, we had to have something to aim at."

On the proposal to begin at the Red Bull Ring - a venue which is likely to stage two races on consecutive weekends before F1 heads to Silverstone for a similar double-header - Brundle said: "I think starting in Austria makes sense.

"A venue where maybe we could control the train set because Red Bull own that circuit. A smaller country, a smaller government to deal with, because the hoops to jump through, the logistics we need to sort out before we can get Formula 1 up and running again, are pretty significant and challenging.

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"So F1 has done the right thing and come out and said: 'Let's get going and let's use this as a template.'"

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Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle explains the challenges faces the circuit and the sport as a whole during the coronavirus crisis

Can F1 get up and running by July?

F1 is working on procedures to both satisfy the relevant governments and ensure the safety of personnel who would attend the initial fan-less events.

Sky F1's Karun Chandhok suspects this will be a big logistical undertaking with many factors to consider.

"Someone was saying to me the other day, you need about 180-200 people at a football ground for a match to happen," said Chandhok.

"At a Grand Prix, we need about 2,000 people once you count marshals, medical, the broadcasting team, and all those involved. It is quite a different scale.

"The safety angle is of course a big consideration because it means that you're possibly putting additional pressure on the medical staff in that country, so we have to think about that."

Image: Verstappen won last year's Austrian GP for Red Bull, when it was round nine of F1 2019

And of the 15-18 race target, Chandhok added: "I think 18 [races] is a little bit ambitious. If we can still get to 14 or 15 I still think that's a very good number under the circumstances.

"In Martin's day of racing [in the 1980s and 1990s], 16 races was a full season - so we won't be far away from that."

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