’Ghost race’ organisers not paying a fee
"F1 currently expect the opening races to be closed events"
Organisers of the Spanish GP have confirmed they will not pay Liberty Media a fee for hosting one of the initial eight European ’ghost races’ this year.
Liberty Media finally announced the schedule on Tuesday, with F1 CEO Chase Carey hoping to publish a "full calendar" of 15-18 races "before the end of June".
"F1 currently expect the opening races to be closed events but hope fans will be able to attend again when it is safe to do so," read a Formula 1 statement.
The sport’s plan is for a range of safety measures to guard against the coronavirus, with Carey saying that even a driver testing positive "will not lead to cancellation".
"A team not being able to race wouldn’t cancel the race," Carey added. "If a driver has an infection, there are reserve drivers available."
The initial 8-race schedule will start with back-to-back events in Austria in July, with Hungary, Silverstone, Spa and Monza all also on the calendar.
Spain’s single race at the Circuit de Catalunya will take place in mid August.
"One of the conditions we put to Liberty Media is to not pay the fee, because we will not have revenue from the ticket office or the economic impact in the region," circuit boss Joan Fontsere told EFE news agency.
He clarified that, unlike Austria and Silverstone, only one race in Spain will take place.
"Our position with Liberty Media was ’you know how we work, our experience, our location and our weather’. But from the beginning they wanted a single grand prix here," said Fontsere.
"If they had the need to do a second we would study it. We have given them the option."
Meanwhile, the Mexican GP promoter says it intends to hold its race this year as originally scheduled on November 1.
But in a statement, the organisers left open the possibility that the race could be held "without spectators or cancelled due to force majeure".
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