F1's first championship was 1950, but not its first season. Here’s a shot from the 1948 grand prix at Silverstone, one of the early years of Grand Prix racing after the break from WWII. The driver, Geoffrey Ansell, made it out fine even after rolling his ERA.
F1's first championship was 1950, but not its first season. Here’s a shot from the 1948 grand prix at Silverstone, one of the early years of Grand Prix racing after the break from WWII. The driver, Geoffrey Ansell, made it out fine even after rolling his ERA.
Photo: Getty Images

The Monaco Grand Prix is canceled. The central point of the season is gone, as other races also dissipate and next year’s cars, too, are delayed. The 2020 Formula One season is slipping away in coronavirus.

Here’s the Monaco cancellation:

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And here’s the official pushback of the rather extreme 2021 rule changes to 2022:

Teams had been wanting this, it was just a question of how long it’d take for F1 as an organization to catch up.

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F1 didn’t explicitly say that any of this was for anyone’s physical health, but rather their financial health. The official rules package delay includes the line, “It is hoped that this will ease the financial burden on the teams, particularly at a time when their income may be reduced because of fewer races this year.”

That tracks with how F1 handled the slow and disorganized pull-out from the season opener in Australia.

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Nothing about this should be surprising, given that F1 is an international traveling circus that happens to have some cars in it and this is a global pandemic that is clamping down on travel. Particularly hard for F1 is that its most central team, Ferrari, is based in northern Italy.

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What’s illuminating, I guess, is that it took as long as it did. Coronavirus responses as we’ve seen in America have been slow to roll out, as everyone pretends things aren’t as bad as they are.

Grand Prix racing has taken longer breaks before, notably for the World Wars (before this kind of racing was called Formula 1), but we’ll see if the series is strong enough to survive a pause this time around.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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