Wolff “pretty confident” of minimum 17 F1 races this season


Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has backed the sport’s organisers to at least match last season’s F1 calendar of 17 races after reports the planned Canadian Grand Prix will be scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s Montreal race is scheduled for June 13 but reports on Thursday said that it would be cancelled for the second year in a row, although F1’s organisers stated that discussions remained ongoing.

Wolff said: “I think the sport has really done well, the FIA and FOM to make sure we actually had a championship last year and I think we were the only global world championship that kept going.

“We had a calendar with 17 races and I’m pretty confident that we will have the same or more races this year. They are doing a super job and the structure and logistics function really well.”

Last year’s proposed 23-race calendar was scrapped after teams turned up for the season-opening race in Australia only for it to be cancelled as the true severity of the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.

The sport's organisers eventually managed to put together a 17-race season, relying heavily on new European destinations, back-to-back events at the same venues and the re-introduction of tracks that had long been sidelined.

This year’s proposed calendar has mostly west European destinations until mid-September, after which it travels to Russia, Singapore, Japan, the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Australia before ending in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

At this stage, the races in Singapore, Japan, Mexico and Brazil are most at risk.

Despite the global nature of the plans, Wolff remains confident. He added: “As long as there is not a complete outbreak of a more aggressive variant, I think we should have an okay season.”