It comes as no surprise that the organisers of the French GP have confirmed the cancellation of the event. Due to take place at the end of June at Circuit Paul Ricard, the French GP is the tenth F1 event to get axed this year. This leaves only 12 possible races left on the calendar, cutting it awfully close to the minimum requirement of eight races for an official season.
French government officials announced on Monday the extension of existing lockdown measures on large public gatherings for an additional until “mid-July”, making the 28th July date of the French GP highly improbable. The French GP was the replacement season opener proposed for the 2020 calendar after the Canadian GP was cancelled.
Eric Boullier, Managing Director of the GIP Grand Prix de France - Le Castellet said, “Given the evolution of the situation linked to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the French Grand Prix takes note of the decisions announced by the French State making it impossible to maintain our event.”
“The eyes of the GIP Grand Prix de France - Le Castellet are already turning towards the summer of 2021 in order to offer our spectators an even more unprecedented event at the heart of the Région Sud,” said Boullier.
Chairman and CEO of Formula 1 Chase Carrey added: “We have been in close contact with the French promoter during this evolving situation and while it is disappointing for our fans and the F1 community that the French Grand Prix will not take place we fully support the decision taken by the French authorities in France and look forward to being back at Paul Ricard soon.”
Carrey, in a separate statement, has also stated that despite the cancellation of the French GP, they are more confident with the progress of the plans to begin the season in summer.
“We’re targeting a start to racing in Europe through July, August and beginning of September, with the first race taking place in Austria from 3 to 5 July weekend. September, October and November, would see us race in Eurasia, Asia and the Americas, finishing the season in the Gulf in December with Bahrain before the traditional finale in Abu Dhabi, having completed between 15 to 18 races.”
Carrey has cautioned that plans are still subjected to change due to extreme uncertainties on the development of control of the outbreak.
“We all want the world to return to the one we know and cherish, yet we recognise it must be done in the right and safest way. We look forward to doing our part by enabling our fans to once again safely share the excitement of Formula 1 with family, friends, and the broader community.”
He has expressed his gratitude to the FIA, teams, promoters and key partners, especially the teams that have been focusing efforts to build ventilators to help those infected by COVID-19.
Not much else anyone can do at this point but to wait. In the meantime, the F1 Esports Series is still ongoing to cater for those itching for some racing action.