Formula 1 may look at scrapping the annual summer break as a way to reinstate races that have been forced to cancel due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The season-opening Australian Grand Prix was called off on Friday morning after fears the virus could disrupt the event.
The schedule took a further hit when the Bahrain and the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix’s were also postponed, with China too pulling the plug on its April slot.
While F1 insists it will monitor the situation over the coming weeks, it has placed doubts on the season beginning until the end of May, meaning the Dutch, Spanish and Monaco rounds are also at risk.
However, F1 managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn is optimistic it can stage a 17-18 race calendar providing the season starts early enough.
“Maybe we take a hiatus, we take a pause – and then we use that opportunity to say right, for this time at the beginning of the year we won’t have any races, we’ll look at relocating those races later in the year,” Brawn told Sky Sports F1.
“I think by freeing up the August break, we give ourselves several weekends where we can have a race. And I think we can build a pretty decent calendar for the rest of the year.
“It will look different, but it will still preserve a good number of races, and they’re exciting races. So the season’s going to start later, but I think it will be just as entertaining.
“I’m pretty optimistic that we can have a good 17-18 race championship or more. I think we can squeeze them in. But it depends on when the season will start.”
2020 was set to be a record-breaking 22-race calendar but F1 bosses are now considering options while the season in delayed.
Brawn says teams will need to be flexible to ideas with a return to a triple header a possibility in order to cram races in until the end of the year.
“One thing we have been talking about is two-day weekends, and therefore if we have a triple-header with two-day weekends, that could be an option,” he said.
“I think what we need from the teams this year is flexibility, I think they’ve got to give some scope to do these things. Because we are in very unusual circumstances, and we’ve got to make sure we’ve got a season that gives a good economic opportunity for the teams.
“For sure we’re going to have a quiet start. I’m sure the teams will be flexible to allow us to fit those things in.”