McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes “a race or two” will be lost from the current calendar due to the pandemic but is sure at least 20 events will be held in 2021.
Formula 1’s 2020 campaign was heavily revised due to the pandemic, with 17 rounds held instead of the planned 22 across just a six-month spell, and several new and returning venues enlisted to fill the schedule.
This year’s planned 23-event calendar has already been impacted, with Australia delayed until November, China indefinitely postponed, and Imola and Portimao drafted in as rounds two and three respectively.
Formula 1 has only raced in Europe and the Middle East since the pandemic began and consequently it is understood that the next event over which there are doubts is Canada’s mid-June gathering.
Canada still has tight entry restrictions in place and discussions are ongoing with the relative authorities.
Monaco is due to return after its 2020 absence, with construction of the street-based venue almost complete, while organisers in Azerbaijan have already outlined the event will take place but without spectators.
Brown expressed confidence that Formula 1 can “get in 20 races” but expects there will likely be a couple of events called off.
“We think there’s going to be an impact, the calendar has already been changed once,” said Brown at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“I think the sport did an awesome job getting 17 races in half a year. It’s great we started in March.
“I think we will lose a race or two. Not long ago, as you all know, the [Formula 1] calendar was 15, 16, 17 or 18 races, so I think if we can get in 20 races over a normal calendar season that is a very complete Formula 1 schedule.
“I think we’ll just have to see how things and vaccines roll out over the course of the year and see which countries may or may not be impacted.
“I’m confident we’ll get in 20 races through a March to December timeframe.”