Liberty Media has admitted for the first time they are considering the possibility of "zero" Formula 1 racing taking place in 2020.
Also announcing that advanced payments have been made to 'certain teams', Liberty Media president and CEO Greg Maffei says that plans have been made for all eventualities regarding the 2020 season.
"We have scenarios for zero races, anywhere from 15-18 races, races that begin with no fans present and only the teams," said Maffei, speaking on a call with Wall Street analysts.
"We really have a host of opportunities or challenges on all fronts. Chase [Carey] and his team are presented with multiple options – including until you know the timing how do you ask somebody to move an existing race in place of another race when you don't know when it's open?
"So we are watching how the opening of certain events is happening in Western Europe, in certain countries, and looking at options around that that maybe the start of the calendar. No guarantees yet, but that is certainly something that would be attempted."
While Liberty Media have been able to help several teams out with the immediate situation, Maffei has made it clear that the if racing takes place behind closed doors, or not at all, the cost of such events may outweigh the positives.
For example, if Formula 1 were to run eight races behind closed doors in 2020, completing what would be classed as an official world championship, but four teams went out of business, would anyone be happy with this?
"There are challenges around how you do all that which require incremental capital as well. If you run races with no live audience, we'll obviously have lower profitability, maybe even no profitability.
"We may be sufficiently capitalised to handle that for 2020, but there are teams which will incur costs, particularly those which don't have minimum guarantees from F1, and one of the major if not their major source of revenue is their share of the profits of F1.
"There's a degree that we're running profitable or not profitable races, but they still need to incur all their costs of running their terms. It's a challenge.
"How do we do something that is beneficial for fans, but also doesn't have the teams bankrupting themselves by conducted no profit, or loss, races?
"We're not encouraging using our cash in an unwise fashion, but we're trying to balance the operating business and its current results against the operating results of our partners in the form of the teams, who do incur large costs.
"We have advanced money in advance of team payments for certain teams already. There are cases where we may do more of that. There are other things that we might do to bridge teams that might need help.
"We're certainly not viewing this as an open chequebook. We want to make sure that teams are solvent because they are part of what we need to race successfully in 2020, 2021, and beyond."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.