A catch 22: Should the 2020 F1 season continue, or be called off?

Image: TeamTalk
Image: TeamTalk

I am certain that many of us are having serious withdrawal symptoms given the lack of Formula 1 racing on our screens.

And why wouldn’t we: 2020 was set to be a big one for various reasons. This year, we were going to bear witness to whether or not Lewis Hamilton would match Michael Schumacher’s seven world championships.

Whether or not Ferrari would mount a real challenge to the Mercedes F1 team. If Ferrari would actually allow Charles Leclerc to lead the team ahead of his illustrious team mate, Sebastian Vettel.

There are many more questions that needed answering, but as it stands, those answers have been shelved in light of the coronavirus that’s swept across the globe. Everything has been affected, even sporting codes like F1. 

This is not something anyone envisioned, but is there merit to the decisions that’s been taken so far?

And, perhaps more pressing, should the 2020 F1 season be called off?

Maintaining credibility

The Covid-19 situation is dire. Automakers have been forced to close factories, and even F1 teams have sent their staff home to self-quarantine under these difficult circumstances. But while the latter is very noble and right, where does this leave the sport as a whole?

While the correct measures have been taken, the cancellation or postponement of the first nine races of the 2020 season has left some teams in a pickle. Every race is an opportunity for teams to make money. Whether that comes from television revenue or the financial incentive for every point scored, those benefits are out the window - for the timebeing.

READ: Furlough puts McLaren F1 team in line for British payment schemes during Covid-19

It was recently announced that teams are losing in the millions for every race that’s not taking place, which makes it difficult to maintain and run a team during a season that’s possibly not even going to take place.

F1 pundits also voiced their concerns, saying that if F1 loses any one of the smaller teams, the championship would lose its credibility. The sport would lose its credibility.

What is your take on Formula 1 either postponing or canceling races? Email us.

Yay or nay

The big question remains, though: should the 2020 F1 season continue or be called off completely. Well, the coin has two sides.

If the season is called off, there is a serious risk that some of the smaller teams will have to shut their doors. This, in turn, would leave a couple of thousand people without jobs and in these trying times, no one can afford to be without income. The Haas F1 team owner, Gene Haas, is already contemplating his involvement in the sport, saying that it’s become too expensive trying to close the performance gap to Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull.

Williams could also go under, as well as Alfa Romeo Racing, and/or Racing Point. 

READ: 'It's a difficult situation' - 2020 F1 championship should be cancelled: Ecclestone

If the 2020 season gets underway under a cloud of Covid-19, the world would turn on it and lambast it for doing so; calling the sport’s bigwigs selfish and self-concerned. The organisers of the Bahrain GP had the right idea to stage a spectator-less race, but after a McLaren team member tested positive for the coronavirus in Australia, that raised concern and fear. Ultimately leading to the second race of the season, Bahrain, also being called off.

What to do, then?

From a safety perspective, it was the right decision to cancel or postpone races. But on the other hand, it leaves the sport in a poor state that could unsettle it for years to come. The Bahrain GP organisers had the right idea, and perhaps it should be further investigated and refined for the remaining races of the season. Something needs to give, otherwise the sport could sit with an even bigger crisis on its hands.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Brought to you by
Voting Booth
Do you think Mercedes will return to form later in the 2022 F1 season after two poor races?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, don't discredit them.
33% - 469 votes
Who cares, F1 is exciting again!
44% - 613 votes
No, it's Ferrari's turn to dominate again.
23% - 322 votes