F1 ready to publish 8-race European calendar (Update)

Two Austria races up first
Two Austria races up first

UPDATE Here are the 8 races:

July 5 – Austrian GP
July 12 – Austrian GP II
July 19 – Hungarian GP
August 2 – British GP
August 9 – British GP II
August 16 – Spanish GP
August 30 – Belgian GP
September 6 – Italian GP

Can you imagine the Italian GP without fans? It just won't be the same
Can you imagine the Italian GP without fans? It just won't be the same

05/28/20 (GMM) Formula 1 is preparing to publish an eight-race calendar that it hopes will restart the 2020 season amid the corona crisis.

It comes just as the FIA confirmed that a $145 million budget cap, and a range of other measures including "linear" aero development restrictions for the better performing teams, are definitely coming in for 2021.

"It would be better to have it now, but unfortunately the virus didn't wait for the budget cap," Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul said.

As F1 factories began to reopen this week after a long shutdown period, McLaren supremo Zak Brown said the measures ratified on Wednesday was a "crucially important moment for our sport".

McLaren is one of the hardest hit by the crisis, ousting 75 staff working for the Woking team and even looking to mortgage its famous collection of historic F1 cars.

"F1 has been financially unsustainable for some time, and inaction would have risked the future of F1 and its participants, who are to be commended for resolving this issue collectively and determinedly," Brown added.

At the same time, F1 is ready to reveal a calendar of an initial eight European 'ghost races', starting in Austria and moving on to Hungary by mid-July.

According to several media sources including Spain's Marca and German-language Speed Week, it is believed the schedule will be officially published on June 1.

After Austria, the plan is for back-to-back races at Silverstone in early August, with Britain's sanctioning body Motorsport UK now giving the green light for the resumption of racing in the country.

"We always said that when the conditions were right, we would take a responsible decision to resume motorsport in order to sustain the sport, jobs and the economy," said Motorsport UK boss David Richards.

Barcelona, Spa and Monza will round out the eight-race calendar by September, with Hockenheim reportedly on standby should any of the races falter.

Alex Wurz, head of the F1 drivers' union GPDA, said the drivers are supportive of the re-start plan.

"Nobody in motorsport is a fan of ghost races," he said. "But it is a way of getting us back on the track earlier than if we waited for races with spectators.

"I am in constant contact with all the drivers and all of them accept it," Wurz added.

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