F1 latest: The ongoing plans and talks for 2020 and beyond
So what's the latest in Formula 1 as sport bids to return to action in July and safeguard the futures of all teams heading into next year?
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 07/05/20 5:44pm
When is F1 aiming to start the season?
F1 is targeting a start to the season at the Austrian GP on July 5.
The Red Bull Ring, owned by the energy drinks company, is the venue for the planned season opener, with the event set to take place behind closed doors.
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Although F1 have not formally confirmed it yet, it is understood that the plan is for two races to be held in Austria on consecutive weekends. A similar arrangement is then being worked on for Silverstone.
F1 will then attempt to hold more races in Europe in July-early September before heading to Asia, the Americas and finishing up in the Gulf in December with a rescheduled Bahrain GP, followed by the usual Abu Dhabi GP season-closer.
But as F1 have stressed themselves, planning remains provisional amid the coronavirus crisis.
What measures will be imposed in Austria?
Having already confirmed the Austrian events will take place without fans, F1 plans to enforce strict and extensive safety measures for personnel who are attending.
In the words of Ross Brawn, F1's managing director of motorsport, the sport's officials want to create an effective 'biosphere' at the Red Bull Ring.
"Everyone will be tested, and will have clearance before they can go in," said Brawn during an appearance on Sky Sports' F1 Show this week.
"And then every two days, they'll be tested whilst they're in the paddock."
The 10 teams will be kept apart, staying in different hotels. The usual European motorhomes will not be present either.
"We can't have staff that socially distance so we have to create an environment within itself that is effectively a small bubble of isolation," confirmed Brawn.
Making clear they will only return to racing when it is safe to do so and the relevant permissions have been granted, Brawn added that he was "very encouraged" by progress with the FIA in establishing the necessary measures.
What do the teams and drivers say?
F1's teams have been in regular dialogue with F1 and FIA officials on a host of pressing topics since the aborted Australian GP back in March, with Brawn revealing he would also be updating drivers on the latest plans soon.
"'They wrote to us in a very positive way," he explained.
"We are scheduled to meet with them shortly to explain more of the plans and to get good insight well before we get there what's going to happen."
As for those discussions with teams, Claire Williams told the latest Sky F1 Vodcast: "I know the work F1 have been doing, they've been putting an awful lot of time and energy into this to see what they can do in order to take us back racing and to do that safely.
"They're going to make sure that they put in every possible health and safety regulation that they need to and make sure we're all doing it in absolutely the right way before we actually go back to the race track."
What else has been going on in F1?
Brawn's Monday appearance on The F1 Show came soon after he had concluded a phone conference with fellow F1 and FIA officials about agreeing a reduction in the planned cost cap for 2021.
A spending limit of $175m - excluding certain high-ticket items such as drivers' salaries - was already in the regulations for 2021, but the impact of the coronavirus has dramatically changed the picture with a new initial figure of $145m now set to be rubber-stamped.
"It has become very clear from the people who stand above some of the team principals and management of these teams that the message is clear - we've got to cut costs," revealed Brawn.
"And therefore, another big step in the reduction of the cost cap.
"We started at 175 [million dollars], that was a long battle to get it there, and with the current crisis we are now going to start at 145 and the discussion really is how much further down we can drive the next few years."
A further reduction towards $130m from 2022 onwards is thought to be on the agenda, with talks continuing with teams on the details of the revised cap this week.
Williams said of the ongoing talks: "They've been really productive and I think everyone has understood the enormity of the situation.
"Everyone's being really responsible in ensuring the future of our sport and putting the things that need to be in place in place, so that we the teams all have a strong future in this sport.
"That's been the work that's been going on over the last six weeks and I think we're nearly at the end of that process now."
What other financial measures are being taken?
Liberty Media, the owners of F1's commercial rights, has already advanced some payments to teams during this period and Brawn said they are determined to retain all 10 existing teams through the global crisis.
"We've got 10 very good teams in Formula 1 and we want to keep it that way," insisted Brawn.
F1's motorsports chief added: "We'll judge what level we should support the prize fund in the next six to 12 months. If we lose teams in this period, it'll be a tragedy.
"We're working very hard on a fair and equitable way amongst the teams. I think Liberty have shown their strengths and created this fighting fund made available and we now need to see how things develop.
"We need to look at what the calendar looks like, look at what the income is like for the rest of the season, and then sit down with the teams and make sure we all continue on this journey, because the future looks so good."
What about 'New F1'?
The 'future' Brawn speaks optimistically about centres on 'new F1' - the big package of regulations that had originally been intended to be rolled out in full for 2021.
Significant changes to technical, sporting and financial rules are designed to help level the playing field and increase the chances of more than three teams competing at the front and winning races.
Although the big rule changes for car design have been deferred until 2022 - with the yet-to-be-raced 2020 machines to be carried into next year - new financial terms are being negotiated as the current Concorde Agreement expires in December.
"There's going to be a much more equitable prize fund in the new agreement so the midfield teams in particular are going to be much better off in terms of their portion of the prize money," explained Brawn.
"So it's being balanced in every direction. We're reducing the amount of money that can be spent in Formula 1 and we're improving the distribution of the prize fund more evenly among the teams.
"A good middle field team should be able to score podiums, maybe a win, and it should make a small profit. If we can achieve that we'll have a very sustainable future."
Don't miss the latest F1 Esports race - the Virtual Spanish GP - live at 6pm on Sunday on Sky Sports F1, Main Event and Sky F1's YouTube channel. The race is followed by a special unseen and hilarious feature with McLaren team-mates Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris driving the Circuit de Catalunya.