Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey says the championship is in the stages of finalising its 2021 calendar, and is expecting it to provisionally feature 22 events across a more normal timeframe.
This year’s Formula 1 schedule was due to feature a record-breaking 22 rounds, with the return of the Netherlands and debut of Vietnam, but the Coronavirus pandemic wrecked the calendar.
Over half of the planned events have been cancelled, the season did not begin until July, while the remainder of the calendar beyond early November has yet to be publicly finalised.
Austria’s Red Bull Ring hosted two grands prix, as did Britain’s Silverstone, while venues not on the original calendar – Mugello, Nurburgring, Portimao and Imola – have been included.
Speaking on Monday, following the publication of Liberty Media’s 2020 Q2 financial results, Carey stressed that a 2021 calendar similar to the original 2020 schedule is being finalised.
“We are planning a 2021 season that looks pretty much like what we would have expected it to look like at the beginning of this year,” he said.
“Obviously we qualify that with we don’t have better visibility than anyone else with the virus, what it will look like going forward.
“We have to realise we’re about five months into the virus and our season in March  is still seven months away.
“It will probably be a 22-race calendar, a calendar that probably starts and finishes about when our calendar has [in previous years].
“We may make it so there’s a little more space at the front end of the calendar, and the second half is a little busier so we’ve got a little more flexibility built into it, but I think that’s probably a tweak to it not a real restructuring.
“We haven’t announced 2021 just because of the focus on 2020, we are close to finalising 2021, we have just got a couple of agreements to complete.
“Clearly as this goes along we’ll know more and there’s always the possibility we’ll make some adjustment as we go forward.
“We’ll have a lot of sports ahead of us, what will the NBA and NHL do as they get to next season? What will European soccer leagues do as their seasons get going, we do have the benefit of a lot of things that will be in front of us as templates around the world.”
Formula 1 has run all of its 2020 events without spectators so far, while the next rounds at Barcelona, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza will also be run behind closed doors.
But Carey is optimistic a limited number of punters will be permitted entry to mid-September’s round at Mugello.
“I think the first race we think there is a potential for a very small number of fans is probably Mugello,” he said.
“[It will] probably increase [at] races in the later part of the schedule; we hope to have fans at as many as possible.
“In some places the governments want to get a bit closer to the date to determine what the situation is.”