F1 and its programming quagmire


F1’s 2021 calendar is now in motion following the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix. Still, it comes after nearly half of the season has passed in what looks like a logistical facility.

The Chinese and Canadian events may have been canceled and the Emilia Romagna race retained after a single year, but the races were scheduled and passed with regularity – although Australia could not say G’day to open the schedule.

Now, after a series of three consecutive race weekends, Formula 1 is enjoying a break. Three races in a row was a crazy idea, but in 2019 the schedule featured them with a change to including more races in the season.

While the teams initially showed resistance, the results indicated they were smart, the teams adjusted and no serious issues arose. The 2019 practice got through the truncated and ever-changing 2020 season.

Getting out of the French Grand Prix and then two races at the Red Bull Ring in Austria is almost easy compared to what the teams have faced recently. Therefore, the free weekend followed by the British GP, with another free weekend marking the schedule afterwards, almost feels like a slow pace for the sport.

To start, after this particular weekend, the teams hit the track for the Hungarian GP – then took advantage of the summer break. Yet the calendar does not maintain such a shape in the future.

In fact, the cancellation of the Australian GP seems to be a boon for everyone in the sport. However, the cancellation is another reminder of how much COVID is with us and how tinkering with sports cannot be done.

While some countries are in the process of reducing restrictions and resuming practices that might be considered normal, this practice is not universal. In fact, it is anything but universal.

The Coronavirus still roams the planet and, with its mutation to the Delta variant, becomes more robust. Although vaccines have been shown to be effective in mitigating the effects of Delta, there is still the logistics of inoculating the seven billion people on the planet. Or even 70% of them.

Even though Korean global pop sensation BTS released “Permission to Dance,” an ode to ending COVID restrictions, the virus is still manifesting its potency.

Australia is in the midst of a two-week lockdown that looks a lot like the stranglehold that many places on the planet felt a year ago. Japan, which hosts the Olympics from July 23, has not only battled a wave of COVID cases, but is now limiting participation in many events. Much like Australia, Japan has entered a state of emergency, and the question arises as to whether the GP will take place, and it is not until October.

This brings us back to the schedule. Once F1 comes out of its summer torpor, it hits the track at full speed. Formulated awkwardly, the series hosts three consecutive groups of races before ending with a consecutive final.

The sport is filled with professionals who can get their jobs done, but the second half of the program is littered with more rugged trips and compact groupsets.

The first four races can all be in Europe, but that doesn’t mean that Belgium’s bounce back to the Netherlands via Italy is straightforward or not exhausting. While other racing series, like NASCAR, may cover similar grounds, this situation is constantly changing, and the track in the Netherlands is new to schedule, having been canceled last year.

But the next trifecta, featuring Russian, Turkish and Japanese races, is a mix of rather involved travel and challenge. Who knows what restrictions may be in place at this point and what teams may have to go through.

Japan has been uncomfortable hosting the Olympics for months now. Even though F1 is a major sporting endeavor, it is laughable compared to the impact of the Olympics, and realizing that the country is banning spectators from attending events is a serious blow to the reason why a country brings the games anyway. Dropping F1 is a small sum in comparison.

Will Japan allow the Japanese GP to race but without spectators? Even with only a few months left, it is possible that this is the likely outcome, although the country would prefer the touring series to skip its stop this year.

The cancellation of the Australian GP opened up the possibility of a double scenario on the Circuit of Americas, which would be a boon for a track with questionable financial status. If Japan decides to cancel, the likelihood of such a planning situation becomes greater – and something that can benefit teams by reducing travel despite being less tied to the factories that feed its parts.

Much of this word salad means that the program has been wonderful so far, but it’s still an improvisation. There are changes likely to occur in the near future, but what they can be is debatable, and there is reason to believe Liberty Media will do its best to ensure the series hits 22, if not. the 23 races planned for the season. .

The season of driver silliness may be in full swing, but sorting through the current schedule is more fascinating and immediate.

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