F1: Ross Brawn on 2020 calendar, reverse-grid race proposal & more
Watch the Ross Brawn interview with Sky F1 for the latest news
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 10/06/20 11:28am
Ross Brawn says Formula 1 will not be rushed into confirming the rest of its 2020 calendar as the sport can make a "relatively late call" on whether to race or not at certain circuits later in the year.
Eight races of the delayed 2020 season have so far been revealed - all in Europe and behind-closed-doors - with the first GP taking place in Austria on July 5 and the last confirmed at Monza on September 6.
After that, other European tracks have been mooted as possibilities by Brawn - mentioning Mugello, Hockenheim, Imola and Jerez in an interview with RaceFans - and F1's managing director of motorsports told Sky Sports F1 that the sport is biding its time to firm up plans for later in the season.
Particularly as setting a date for 'flyaway' races - F1 was due to head to North and South America, and Asia - is proving to be "challenging".
"Because every country is at different phases of this pandemic, some countries where it's quite difficult at the moment, we're optimistic will improve enough in time for us to go there," Brawn said on the F1 Show.
"I think where we have permanent circuits then it's easy to make a relatively late call. Where we have to build a circuit then you need more notice.
"But then of course with a flyaway, the logistics are more difficult. It's proving quite challenging the second half, but I think we'll have a pretty decent season. There's a lot of things now starting to fall into place."
The Singapore GP was due to follow Italy, although a circuit would need to be 'built' there as it's a street track. There is more optimism about other races in Asia, such as Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, towards the end of 2020.
Reverse-grid qualy proposal dropped
Brawn says the reverse-grid qualifying race proposal has been "dropped" for 2020 after opposition for Mercedes.
The idea - which would see the Saturday format reshuffled at the 'second' races at Austria and Silverstone this season - had been favoured by the majority of the 10 F1 teams, although world champions Mercedes were against what they called a "gimmick".
And Brawn confirmed: "We've dropped the idea for now."
After being played footage of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff's interview with Sky F1's Martin Brundle, in which he revealed three reasons for his team's stance, Brawn added: "Why we resurrected this idea was because of the consecutive races at the track, which we're going to have at two races this season maybe more.
"It seemed an ideal opportunity in the second race to try a different format. I think most of the issues Toto was concerned about, most could be addressed with the teams working together.
"But at the moment it needs a unanimous decision from the teams."
Brawn on F1's first 'aero handicap' system
Brawn also had his say on the progress F1 and its teams have made with the new rules, with various cost-cutting measures approved as well as a new 'handicap' system where teams who finish lower in the championship are granted more time for aerodynamic development.
"I'm pretty happy," Brawn explained. "We need to keep the competition and we're keeping the competition in the areas we think are of most interest to fans, so the aerodynamics, differentiation on the engine side, the suspension. So we've got those areas which the fans can engage with and they can understand. But we've neutralised other areas.
"This adjustment in the aerodynamic capacity of the teams, depending on where they finish in the championship is a gentle step in the right direction. You still have to do a great job to win a Formula 1 race, you won't win a Formula 1 race because you've got the least handicaps.
"We always want to have a meritocracy in Formula 1 and I think a great team that finishes first in the championship may have a little less aerodynamic capacity than a team at the back of the grid, but if that team at the back don't use that extra resource more sensibly, it would be wasted."
The Formula 1 season will begin on July 3-5 live on Sky Sports F1 with the Austrian GP. The race is the first of eight in 10 weeks in Europe, with every race live on Sky Sports.