The 2020 F1 French GP becomes the 10th race of the season to have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19. On the sidelines of this announcement, F1 Chairman & CEO Chase Carey also made a slew of announcements regarding the start & progression of the 2020 season.
In yet another setback to the 2020 Formula 1 calendar, organisers of the GIP Grand Prix de France - Le Castellet have decided to cancel the upcoming 2020 edition of the GP. The decision comes after the French government recently announced a ban on all major events in the country until at least the middle of July. Not to mention the travel restrictions already in place to help contain the virus spread.
Sharing the regrettable news, Eric Boullier (MD - GIP Grand Prix de France) said, 'Given the evolution of the situation linked to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the French Grand Prix takes note of the decisions announced by the French State, making it impossible to maintain our event. The eyes of the GIP Grand Prix de France - Le Castellet are already turning towards the summer of 2021 to offer our spectators an even more unprecedented event at the heart of the Région Sud.'
Adding to this, Chase Carey (Chairman & CEO - Formula 1) said, 'We have been in close contact with the French promoter during this evolving situation and while it is disappointing for our fans and the F1 community that the French Grand Prix will not take place we fully support the decision taken by the French authorities in France and look forward to being back at Paul Ricard soon.'
To make sure the 2020 French GP ticket holders do not bear the brunt of this decision, the organisers have clearly stated that they'll be uploading the reimbursement terms on the French GP website soon. To this end, the organisers are also willing to fully-refund the amount of all ancillary services as well (such as reserved parking, shuttle service, etc.).
To bring much-needed respite to F1 fans across the world, Chase Carey finally broke the silence on the uncertainty of the 2020 F1 season. In his most recent announcement, he cleared the air that the season is looking at a July start, with the 2020 Austrian GP, scheduled to take place on July 5.
The July-August period will be used to race in Europe, followed by the next two months, September & October, that will witness racing in Asia & Eurasia. In November, the season will make a stop in America, followed by a December end to the season, in the Middle-East. A final, revised calendar with the exact dates is yet to be released.
However, despite a July start, Carey has asked the fans to brace for a spectator-less race in the first few rounds. This decision has been reinforced by Silverstone chief Stuart Pringle, who has very cleared stated that the British Grand Prix, should it go through, will be held with zero spectators. The British GP at Silverstone (July 19) is currently the next round after the Austrian GP.