The Covid-19 pandemic is far from being over and so, too, is uncertainty over the calendar for the Formula One world championship in 2021.
The races this year have, up until now, been restricted to Europe with all the events being done using trucks.
The Russian GP at Sochi will become the first ‘flyaway’ since the Coronavirus first struck, although the plan is that it will be followed by Middle Eastern events in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
FIA President Jean Todt says it is impossible to say – as yet – whether there will be a proper Formula 1 calendar for 2021 or whether the sport will go into next year doing the same as it has been in 2020 and deciding on sections of the calendar at relatively short notice, depending on the development of the pandemic around the world.
There has been no news on the future of the Australian Grand Prix, which has opened the season in March each year since it moved to Melbourne from Adelaide.
The Formula 1 group is obviously keen to have as many races as possible, paying as much as possible, but that has proven to be very difficult this year. The lack of crowds has limited the income, although there was a small attendance at Mugello last weekend and upcoming events in Sochi and Istanbul are hoping for an attendance of up to 100,000 people.
Liberty Media boss Chase Carey says that he would like to see a full calendar of 22 or 23 races next year, but there are some deals that still need to organised.
Brazil, for example, has reached the end of its current contract and although there has been a lot of talk of a new track in Rio de Janeiro, there is no sign of anything concrete.
Heading into the ‘flyaway’ in Russia, it is proving very difficult for people to fly to Sochi unless they travel on specific F1-related charter flights.
Regular flights are being cancelled all the time because of a lack of passengers, which is a particular problem with Russia, which still has closed borders.
F1 people can get documentation to get them into Russia, but the actual transportation is proving to be difficult.
The FIA has been taking advice on the pandemic from Professor Éric Caumes, head of the infectious diseases department at the Pitié Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, who says that it is unlikely that a formal calendar will be possible because the epidemic is taking off again in a number of countries.
The number of new cases around the world is running at around 300,000 a day, in part because so many more tests are being conducted. The death rates are down in many countries, but there are still more than 6000 people dying each day around the world.
The number of deaths in the United States will soon hit 200,000, while daily cases in Europe have surpassed the totals in the spring in some places – although deaths are now few and far between.