MacKelden fears for F1 season
Host of the Drivers seat and professional driver trainer Matt MacKelden says it is becoming increasingly unlikely the Formula One season will go ahead in any capacity in 2020, as races continue to disappear off the calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 season has been delayed until at least June, after the Australian Grand Prix became the first round cancelled in March.
The Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal was tentatively set down for June to open the season but became the latest round to be halted on Wednesday, with seven other rounds currently postponed.
Speaking to Sports Drive on Wednesday, MacKelden said he held grave fears for the Formula One season.
“I have a very personal view that I’m not entirely sure we’re going to see a Formula One race at all this year,” he said.
“All of the teams are based in Europe, many of them based in the United Kingdom. Right now the UK is in dire straits.”
“When they are still increasing their death and infection rates (for COVID-19) how do you even contemplate going back to work and starting a Formula One season? Till that curve flattens and the diagnosis numbers go down, that’s about when you can move to start having a discussion.”
“Then think about Spain, think about Italy all of those horrible situations right now in those countries, I just don’t know how we’re going to be able to compress a full Formula One season in to 4-5 months.”
Teams have slashed their costs already for the season, with teams significantly reduced in size to deal with the economic hit of the coronavirus outbreak.
The forecast for the V8 Supercars competition is more positive, with a likely resumption of the season in the back half of 2020 after the opening round was held in Adelaide in February.
In the meantime, Supercars drivers are keeping in touch with the E-series, to be held on Wednesday nights for the next few months with the drivers connected via racing simulators in their own homes.
MacKelden praised the Supercars brand for making the best of a tough situation.
“It will look and sound a lot like the real deal on television,” he said.
“From a drivers point of view it will be a lot of fun, it will keep you sharp and competitive and from a punters and fans point of view it’s going to look similar to a real racetrack, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Scott McLaughlin won two of the three races on the opening night of the E-series, Ford’s Jack Le Brocq securing a controversial win in race two.
Races were held virtually at the Phillip Island racetrack (two races) and Monza, which hosts the Italian Grand Prix.
IMAGE: F1 website.