“The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the postponement of the Red Bull Gran Premio de Espana, which was set to be held at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto from the 1st to the 3rd of May. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has obliged the event to be rescheduled,” read a statement from Dorna.
“As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, a new date for the Spanish GP cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the event. A revised calendar will be published as soon as available.”
The MotoGP season opener is now scheduled for Le Mans in France on May 17. However, discussions are already underway to see that race pushed to at least June.
With heavy doubts over the Italian race at Mugello on May 31, the season’s earliest possible start could be at Barcelona on June 7.
REVISED 2020 CALENDAR
1 — Qatar, 8 March (Losail International Circuit) MotoGP class cancelled
2 — Spain, 3 May (Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto) Postponed, no new date confirmed
3 — France, 17 May (Le Mans)
4 — Italy, 31 May (Autodromo del Mugello)
5 — Catalunya, 7 June (Barcelona-Catalunya)
6 — Germany, 21 June (Sachsenring)
7 — Netherlands, 28 June (TT Circuit Assen)
8 — Finland, 12 July (KymiRing)
9 — Czech Republic, 9 August (Automotodrom Brno)
10 — Austria, 16 August (Red Bull Ring)
11 — Great Britain, 30 August (Silverstone)
12 — San Marino, 13 September (Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli)
13 — Aragon, 27 September (MotorLand Aragón)
14 — Thailand, 4 October (Chang International Circuit)
15 — Japan, 18 October (Twin Ring Motegi)
16 — Australia, 25 October (Philip Island)
17 — Malaysia, 1 November (Sepang International Circuit)
18 – Americas, 15 November (Circuit of the Americas)
19 — Argentina, 22 November (Termas de Rio Hondo)
20 — Valencia, 29 November (Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo)
But after six years of leading the sport’s dominant force, Wolff could finally be on the move according to former F1 supremo Ecclestone.
The 89-year-old believes Wolff will jump ship at the year and join the newly-formed Aston Martin team after becoming “more friendly” with their billionaire owner Lawrence Stroll.
Ecclestone said: “Wolff has the brains to pick the right people to be friends with, and I think we will more than likely see him join Lawrence at Aston Martin.
“Lawrence has some people with him and the group has bought control of the company, and I suppose Toto could jump in there as chief executive. It might work.”
Wolff has led Mercedes to six straight constructors’ titles with Hamilton winning the drivers’ crown in five of those seasons.
The Brit previously admitted that Wolff’s decision will be a big factor in whether he stays at Mercedes or heads elsewhere with Ferrari among the potential suitors.
Speaking in November, Hamilton said: ““I have obviously considered the next couple of years and naturally I know that I want to continue racing. I love what I’m doing and I see no reason for me to stop anytime soon.
“I know that being stuck in any position for too long can also not always be a positive so I always want people to spread their wings and do what’s best for their careers.
“I don’t know what that is for him (Wolff), only he will know. Naturally I don’t want him to leave, particularly if I’m staying in the sport.
“As a figurehead of a business, you’ve got to have the right people in place. He is and has been the right person, he has been the perfect match.
“If you look at some places, what has been built will continue for a period of time. But then a new person that comes in will then start doing things their way and, most likely, more often or not, could go the wrong way.
More F1 races scratched
“It is important to me and I am waiting also to see where his head is at.”
Meanwhile, Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa thinks Ferrari would be making a huge mistake if they replaced Sebastian Vettel with Hamilton.
German four-time world champion Vettel is also out of contract at the end of the season and has lost his status as the team’s number one driver to 22-year-old prospect Charles Leclerc.
And Massa, who spent seven years at Ferrari, said: “Lewis Hamilton would be a mistake in my opinion, he could mentally destroy Charles Leclerc and slow his growth.
“If I were in the place of (team principal) Mattia Binotto I would not change.
“There is a great balance in the current pairing between the talent of Leclerc and the four titles won by Vettel.”
The seven UK-based Formula 1 teams have launched ‘Project Pitlane’ to help with the production of ventilator equipment in the fight against coronavirus.
The teams – Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, Racing Point, Haas and Williams – and their respective technology arms, plus F1 themselves, have been co-ordinating their response to the Government’s call for companies to provide assistance with manufacturing medical equipment.
And the F1 teams, whose capability to develop and produce concepts at a rapid development rate is a key aspect of the sport, say they are ready to meet the national challenge.
“Following decisions taken this week by the UK Government, Project Pitlane is focused on three workstreams,” read an F1 statement.
“These workstreams vary in scope from reverse engineering existing medical devices, to support in scaling the production of existing ventilator designs as part of the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, to the rapid design and prototype manufacture of a new device for certification and subsequent production.
“In each instance, Project Pitlane will pool the resources and capabilities of its member teams to greatest effect, focusing on the core skills of the F1 industry: rapid design, prototype manufacture, test and skilled assembly.
The Indianapolis 500 was postponed Thursday until August because of the coronavirus pandemic and won’t run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.
The race will instead be held August 23, three months later than its May 24 scheduled date.
“The month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favourite time of year, and like our fans, I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule the Indianapolis 500,” said Roger Penske, the motorsports titan who finalised his purchase of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this year.
“However, the health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority, and we believe that postponing the event is the responsible decision with the conditions and restrictions we are facing,” he said.
“We will continue to focus on ways we can enhance the customer experience in the months ahead, and I’m confident we will welcome fans with a transformed facility and a global spectacle when we run the world’s greatest race.”
The Indianapolis 500 began in 1911 but did not run in 1917, 1918 and from 1941-45 because of World Wars I and II. Tony Hulman bought the neglected speedway after the second war and the Indy 500 returned on Memorial Day weekend in 1946.
It has been scheduled for that weekend every year since, a familiar fixture for untold millions of fans over the years. Although inclement weather has occasionally disrupted the prestigious race, it had never been outright rescheduled until now.
“In times like this it is all about leadership and communication. We have both in IndyCar and NASCAR,” said Chip Ganassi, who fields cars in both series. NASCAR has not altered its plan to resume racing May 9.
Postponing the Indy 500 was an inevitable decision but still had to be difficult for Penske, who has already pumped millions into capital improvements to ready the historic speedway for its first 500 under new ownership.
“It’s a shame Roger has to go through this in his first year of owning Indianapolis Motor Speedway but you couldn’t have a better man in charge,” said A.J. Foyt, a four-time Indy 500 winner and team owner.
“It will still be the Indy 500. I never thought we’d see it like this, but all of the sports field has been affected. I’m just glad that we will be able to race.”
Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said the series chose the August date to get away from extended delays caused by the coronavirus shutdown. The series did not choose Labor Day weekend out of fear of disrupting fans’ traditional plans.
The Indy 500 honours the military before the race, and Miles said the August date gives the speedway “a unique and powerful opportunity to honour the contributions and heroism of the doctors, nurses, first responders and National Guard members serving on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.”
Miles also thanked NBC, which took over broadcasting the marquee race just last year from ABC. NBC is already scrambling after this week’s postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021; the games had been scheduled to open July 24 and run for nearly three weeks.
Penske had been eagerly anticipating the March 15 start of the IndyCar season, but was forced to suspend the series 48 hours before the scheduled opener in St. Petersburg, Florida, when the coronavirus was declared a pandemic.
Four races were initially scrapped and IndyCar said it would resume racing May 9 on the road course at Indy. The opening race is now listed as May 30 at Detroit, but the schedule is in flux.
The Indy road course race will now be run on July 4, a day before NASCAR races at The Brickyard in an unprecedented doubleheader between the series. St. Pete now is listed at the bottom of the schedule with no date listed. Miles said if the race can be rescheduled, it would be as the season finale in October.
Races at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, Circuit of the Americas in Texas and Long Beach, California will not be rescheduled. IndyCar moved the August race dates for Mid-Ohio and Gateway outside of St. Louis, while Portland was moved from Labor Day to one week after.
As for the 500, the new schedule will begin with practices August 12-13, followed by “Fast Friday” on August 14 and weekend qualifying. The following week is dark until August 20, with the final Indianapolis 500 practice on Friday, August 21 as part of Carb Day.
“I’ll tell you this, no matter what day or month or time they run the Indy 500 it’s the greatest race on the whole planet earth, we’ll just have it in August this time and it will still be super, super good,” said Bobby Unser, winner of the Indy 500 in 1968, 1975 and 1981.