F1 chiefs determined to salvage Monaco Grand Prix amid widespread coronavirus outbreak… with discussions ongoing for prestigious race to take place later in the season
- Formula One bosses hope to create a new timetable to salvage their season
- The sport’s decision makers hope to restart the season at the end of May
- Due to the prestige of the Monaco Grand Prix, bosses are keen not to cancel it
- Paddock insiders believe the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on June 7 is more feasible
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Formula One bosses are in discussions with the Monaco authorities in an attempt to save its showpiece grand prix from falling victim to the coronavirus pandemic.
While the travelling circus caught flights home from Melbourne after Sunday’s planned opening round of the season was called off, the FIA and the sport’s owners Liberty Media are trying to plot a new timetable to salvage the season.
As of now, Liberty are officially intending to go racing again at the end of May, meaning Monaco may yet kick off the season on May 24.
F1 bosses are determined not to cancel Monaco Grand Prix and postpone it until later in year
Liberty, an American company new to the sport, believe Monaco GP is vital part of F1 season
But there is no assurance that the threat of illness will have abated by then and so many paddock insiders believe that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on June 7 is a more realistic first race.
Monaco is further hampered by its reliance on temporary infrastructure – such as stands and barriers – and the manpower required for the task coming from France and Italy, the European country most deeply affected by the disease.
But Sportsmail understands that even if Monaco is unready for the end of May, Liberty want it to go ahead at a later date because of the prestige it brings to the series.
F1’s drivers and staff boarded flights home on Saturday after cancellation of Australian GP
One obstacle is the principality’s reluctance to budge from its traditional date in the calendar, which coincides with a holiday weekend.
However, Liberty hope that the unique global circumstances will encourage a change of mind. They are talking to the Automobile Club de Monaco, the race hosts, about this possibility.
Liberty, as an American company relatively new to motor racing, are particularly keen not to be seen to be dismantling one of the foundations of the sport.
Monaco, after all, has staged races since before the inception of the world championship and in every year since, excepting 1953 and 1954.
So far the first four races – Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam and China – have all been postponed.
F1 bosses are eyeing the weekend of May 24 as a possible rescheduled date for Monaco GP
The fifth race of the season in Holland will also be suspended, with a statement of confirmation expected in the next day or two. The Spanish race, due on May 10, is almost certain to be scrubbed, too.
Several of these events will be rescheduled, coronavirus permitting, with the traditional summer break in August used to make space.
The final round in Abu Dhabi could be moved back into December to create further room for a packed rescheduling of more races in the second half of the year.