Monaco Cancelled; Indy Still Hoping to Run as Scheduled

The Grand Prix of Monaco, the Formula 1 equivalent of the Indianapolis 500, is cancelled for 2020. The two other Formula 1 races in May, the Netherlands, and Spain, have been postponed. Monaco could not find a feasible replacement date.

Can the Indianapolis 500 be far behind? Per Adam Stern, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is making contingency plans in case the race needs to be postponed, but the goal is still to run the race May 24.

I’m hearing July 4 weekend in conjunction with the NASCAR race at IMS, which I think is a horrible idea. It just sounds like a logistical and scheduling nightmare. I’ve also heard some people thinking of Labor Day, but there are too many negatives there as well. The Kentucky Derby is now set for the Saturday of that weekend. The NHRA US Nationals aree scheduled at Lucas Oil Raceway, just 20 minutes from the Speedway. Indycar also has a race scheduled at Portland that weekend. Moving the Portland race is probably the easiest problem to solve of the three conflicts.

A decision needs to be made soon, probably within the next couple of weeks. Given the current situation, I don’t see the 500 running May 24.

Long Beach Cancelled

From the Long Beach Grand Prix:

LONG BEACH, Calif. (March 18) — The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach today announced that it will not be able to conduct the 2020 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach at a date later in the year.

The Grand Prix Association also announced a ticket credit/refund policy for 2020 Acura Grand Prix ticket holders.

“Over the past few days, we have actively pursued the possibility of rescheduling the Acura Grand Prix to a later date this year with the City of Long Beach, the Convention Center, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and our other race sanctioning bodies,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association. “We are very disappointed that we were unable to put something together for all our loyal fans and valued clients, but trying to reassemble all the elements that have made the Long Beach event such a success does not appear feasible for 2020. As a result, our attention will now be focused on planning the 46th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 16-18, 2021.”

With the Acura Grand Prix unable to be conducted, the following two options will be offered to 2020 ticket holders:

The first option allows ticket holders to receive a credit for tickets purchased which will apply to the same level of admission to the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach event. The credit will come with a Price Protection Plan which will not only protect them against any price increase for the 2021 Acura Grand Prix but also guarantee they can purchase the same level of ticket for the 2022 event at the 2020 price.

The second option gives ticket holders a full refund (less the processing fee) by April 30, 2020.

The 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will take place April 16-18.

Waiting is the Hardest Part

I am not a patient person by nature. Waiting for word on the start of the Indycar season, which is a long way off, has been a real test for me. I have some thoughts on the way things might work out.

The Indianapolis 500 is the big domino. As the days go by, I think it is less likely the race will be run on May 24. While the date is past the eight week window the CDC established, there is nothing to say it won’t extend the window. The Kentucky Derby’s postponement until September 5 is not a good omen for Indianapolis.

The series should probably make a decision on when the 500 can run before any other race is rescheduled. If there is just one race this year, this is the one that it has to be.

How Many Races for a Legitimate Championship?

To crown a series champion I think there would have to be a minimum of 10 races. Remember the three race championship of the IRL’s first season? I never thought that was a legitimate championship. I can’t see getting in that many races this year. perhaps Indycar would consider carrying over this season’s results into 2021. If that’s what they decide to do, if the 500is run this year it cannot be double points. That would be too much of an advantage for the winner.

What We Have Missed So Far

We may have lost the chance to see Felipe Nasr race for Carlin. With IMSA also postponing events, more conflicts may arise. He was one of the new drivers I was looking forward to seeing last weekend. I have always enjoyed watching him drive at Daytona and Sebring.

Sebastien Bourdais has lost three of the four races he had scheduled to drive for A. J. Foyt Racing. His fourth race at Portland, like everything else, is not certain at this point. I’m disappointed that we may not see him in Indycar at all in 2020. The misse time with Bourdais in the car is also a setback for the team. Bourdais would have helped them sort out their car for the rest of the year. Foyt has lost invaluable feedback.

Will we still see Scott McLaughlin this year? Australian Super Cars is also shuffling their schedule. Another talented driver may have to defer his Indycar debut until 2021.

How many of the smaller teams can afford this hiatus? How many teams that were planning 500 only programs will still be able to enter?

Teams’ Generosity

Per Jenna Fryer of AP, unused food from the Indycar teams’ hospitality at St. Pete was donated to The Rescue Food Ministry, an organization which donates leftover food to local community shelters and agencies. They usually donate to St. Vincent DePaul, but there was so much food that they also contacted the Salvation Army to help distribute all of it. McLaren alone donated nearly 380 pounds of food.

The teams in all gave away nearly 1,200 meals.  In Indianapolis I volunteer at Second Helpings, a food rescue and redistribution organization.  They would be ecstatic with a donation of that size. Second Helpings received a substantial donation of food after the Super Bowl in2012, and they also receive good sized donations during May.

What Do You Want to See Here?

During this time of no racing activity, what content would you like to see in this space? I began reposting “Bump Tales” yesterday, and I plan to still do that on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I may put in a couple of new ones I was planning for May.

I would like to know what else you might want to see. Please respond in the comments section of this post.

 

 

Miles: Focused on May; Looking for Fullest Season Possible

Mark  Miles addressed the media this afternoon following the mid day cancellation of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He said the series felt it was the right thing to do for everyone’s well being. More cancellations of other sporting events after yesterday’s announcement that the race would be held may have been a factor. NASCAR also cancelled its race slated for Sunday. But Miles is looking ahead.”…we are absolutely focused on May,” he said. The series will continue to evaluate the situation and adjust accordingly. Miles hinted that there might be adjustments to the May schedule.

In cancelling the first four races of the season, Miles explained that it was in everyone’s best interests. He has the support of the NTT Indycar Series’ partners.

“We’re going to race as much as we can race. It was clear to us from overnight and this morning that the right thing to do right now was to suspend our competition, really all on-track activity through April…But really I think what happened subsequently was the sense that it’s not responsible to ask people to get together. ”

Asked about possibly running doubleheaders to increase the number of races, Miles said the idea will be “taken into account, when we make the plan going forward. What can a broadcaster cover? What can the promoters do? What works for Honda and Chevy and our suppliers? We’ll do whatever is possible to do to create the fullest season. ”

Some Thoughts

In the 1950s the Indianapolis 500 was the first race of the season, so starting in May is not unprecedented.

Double headers would be nice at some places, but not at the expense of the Road to Indy or other support series.

Long Beach as the season finale would be great. Both IMSA and Indycar will be out there anyway.

I appreciate Indycar making every possible effort to run the race this weekend.