During a live streaming broadcast, organizers from MotoGP and Formula 1 have announced that certain rounds from each series would be combined when advantageous.
Both world championships have seen their initial races postponed or canceled due to the coronavirus.
Currently, all professional racing has been impacted by COVID-19, prompting organizers and promoters to postpone or cancel events for the foreseeable future. These actions have been taken to protect the health of fans, crews, riders, and staff alike.
The announcement of combined rounds is an unprecedented move for the world of motorsports. It marks the first time in history that the MotoGP and F1 championships will share venues simultaneously.
Before this announcement, a long-standing “gentlemen’s agreement” between former Formula 1 Group boss Bernie Ecclestone and current DORNA leader Carmelo Ezpeleta existed in which the two championships would not have direct scheduling conflicts. This agreement also protected the financial interests of both parties because race attendance and TV broadcasts would not be in direct conflict with one another.
The broadcast was a who’s who of the professional racing world. In attendance for this momentous occasion was Jorge Viegas (President of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme), Jean Todt (President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), Ezpeleta (Chief Executive Officer of DORNA), and Chase Carey (Chief Executive of the Formula One Group).
The four made this announcement through all their respective social media platforms, while only wearing the top halves of costly suits, as teleconferencing does not require the use of pants.
Carmelo Ezpeleta, President of the FIM, opened the teleconference by explaining the motivation behind this momentous announcement: “The COVID-19 crisis has created a situation where we must all work together. Currently, the 2020 MotoGP and F1 seasons have not been able to get off to a proper start, understandably. Rounds are being canceled or postponed on both sides and our schedules will start to collide at some. In this case, we are acting proactively.
“DORNA and the Formula One Group are actively working to reschedule all postponed events to make these combined rounds occur. We do not have the official schedule as of now; that will be released soon.”
Due to postponements and outright cancellations, the 2020 schedules for both championships are in flux now. Many countries that both championships travel to are under strict lockdown for the foreseeable future, while other nations have restricted travel significantly. In either case, these actions prevent the movement of fans, teams, personnel, and equipment.
With so much racing taking place in one facility, questions from the media immediately rang out regarding the logistics of these combined events.
Jorge Viegas, President of the FIM, conveniently addressed these questions for the sake of moving this story along: “When we say we will be combining events, that is precisely what we’ll be doing. Practice sessions, qualifying, and racing will be taking place simultaneously,” stated Viegas. After a dramatic pause, he continued “on the same track and at the same time.”
The statement did not fall on deaf ears, as a flurry of shocked emoji faces was immediately spammed into the chat windows of every platform on which this live stream was hosted. In today’s isolated society, this is the equivalent of a ravenous crowd displaying mass confusion, hysteria, and frenzy. They, too, were not wearing pants, allegedly.
MotoGP riders and Formula 1 drivers have shared the track before in promotional events; however, it has always been limited to one motorcycle and one car. With this announcement, approximately 43 vehicles on the racetrack at the same time.
Jean Todt then shared his thoughts: “This is all new ground for us, and we are still working out the safety parameters for ensuring the safety of both riders and drivers. Some of you may not make it, but if that’s what needs to happen to make F1 exciting again, then that’s what we’ll do.”
Mr. Todt continued and explained that this idea was inspired by two American films that he’s been watching while practicing social distancing; The Running Man (1987), starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Death Race (2008) starring Jason Statham of 44 Teeth fame.
Many in the film community have regarded these two films as cinematic masterpieces, worthy of being included in the prestigious Criterion Collection.
Todt’s comments were directed at critics of Formula 1’s recent seasons, which have lamented at the processional nature of modern Formula 1 racing. In the 2017 Formula One season, each race averaged 21.75 passes, according to data published by Pirelli.
No one has been able to successfully calculate the number of passes in a single race in the two-wheeled world, as our racing is exciting enough to hold our attention without creating mathematical exercises to occupy our time. The number of passes is simply too large. Many have speculated the number to be in the millions.
Neither safety representative in the MotoGP or Formula 1 paddock could be reached for comment. However, several riders voice their strong concerns regarding this newly proposed schedule. Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez, and Andrea Dovizioso made statements ranging from “this is not safe” to “this is the worst idea ever conceived.”
The press conference was brought to an abrupt end when Chase Carey’s dog ran into the office, violently knocking his laptop off the desk.
We will have more information as this story develops.