McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has sounded a warning that one or two races may drop off the calendar due to the continued impact of Covid-19.
Last year was heavily impacted by the pandemic but after successfully completing 17 races, the sport pressed ahead with plans for a record-breaking 23 race calendar this year.
At this stage, the Canadian Grand Prix due is under threat to the strict regulations in place with regard to entering the country, while the races in South America could be affected if the number of cases continues to remain high.
“I think we will lose a race or two," said Brown. "Not long ago the calendar was 15 to 16, 17 to 18 races so I think if we can get in 20 races over a normal calendar season that is a very complete Formula 1 schedule.
“I think we are just going to have to see how things and vaccines rollout across the course of the year to see which countries may or may not be impacted.
"But I am confident we will get in at least 20 races through a March to December timeframe which is a very complete Formula 1 season.”
Making reference to the Australian Grand Prix, which moved from its position as the season-opener to November, he added: “Obviously, there has already been a Covid impact, the calendar has already changed once.
"I think the sport did an awesome job getting 17 races in half a year [in 2020]. I think it is great that we are starting in March as we should be so I am confident we are going to be racing March through December."
The McLaren Group's financial problems during the early stages of the pandemic were well documented, forcing the company to take out a £150million loan from the National Bank of Bahrain before MSP Sports Capital purchased a "significant minority stake" in McLaren Racing in December for £185m.
Whilst the pandemic caught all 10 teams off guard last year, Brown believes that by anticipating further disruption this time around, the team is already in a stronger position to manage the situation.
“I think this year we are already anticipating, unlike last year where it took us, the sport, the world by surprise, now we are anticipating some Covid impact," assessed Brown.
"So I think unless we go back to where we were last year, if we are indeed seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and things just continue to get better, I don’t see there being any dramatic impact by Covid on revenue this year.”
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