Formula 1 has discussed plans to begin its 2020 season with the Austrian Grand Prix, followed by a run of three races at Silverstone, RaceFans has learned.
New proposals for a lower budget cap and changes to the aerodynamic regulations were also considered in a teleconference between team principals and representatives of the FIA and Formula 1 Management today. The meeting, which lasted four-and-a-half hours, was described to RaceFans by multiple sources as “positive” and “constructive”.
A source claimed Austria is being targeted as the likeliest venue for a season-opening race. New restrictions on public events in France and Belgium have cast doubt on their ability to hold grands prix on their originally scheduled dates, while Austria which eased some of its lockdown restrictions this week.
Plans to hold a race behind closed doors at the Red Bull Ring were discussed at the meeting. By not opening the race to spectators, it could potentially be held earlier than its original scheduled dates of July 3rd to 5th, though Red Bull are thought to be against a change of dates.
Teams discussed the possibility of following that event with a series of up to three races in four weeks at Silverstone. These would take place on at least two different versions of the Northamptonshire track. RaceFans understands the possibility of running the circuit in reverse did not find favour due to the cost of re-aligning crash barriers and run-off areas in order to ensure adequate safety standards.
Staging a series of races at Silverstone would minimise the amount of travelling by teams at a time when restrictions are likely to remain in place. The seven British-based teams would remain in the same country while those based elsewhere – Ferrari, AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo – would station the majority of their staff at nearby hotels to limit their travel needs.
These races would also be held behind closed doors. RaceFans understands Liberty Media is prepared to make a payment to the circuit to make up for the loss of revenue from ticket sales after fans are refunded.
Further rules changes to reduce the huge financial pressure on teams resulting from the repeatedly postponed start to the season were also discussed.
While a proposal to introduce a ‘two-tier’ budget cap failed to win support, a new proposal to bring the spending limit down over the next two years was raised. This would see the 2021 budget cap fall from $175 million to $145 million, followed by a further cut to $130 million the year after.
Also discussed was a proposal to reduce the advantage of the wealthiest teams by limiting how much aerodynamic development they can do based on their constructors’ championship finishing positions. Under the plan, the leading teams in the championship each year would face tighter restrictions on their permitted wind tunnel and CFD work than their rival teams the following season.
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