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Red Mist: Are you ready for F1’s craziest six months?

Is that light? Yes — that’s light at the end of the tunnel!

Formula 1 yesterday announcing plans to race as soon as the Austrian Grand Prix in July is one of the best tonics I have ever had. Tunnel vision, the thousand yard stare, loneliness, boredom, you name it, we all appreciate those things far better now.

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“We are now increasingly confident with the progress of our plans to begin our season this summer,” F1 capo Chase Carey confirmed. “We target a start to racing in Europe through July, August and the beginning of September, with the first race taking place in Austria on the weekend of 3-5 July.” I can’t wait!

“September, October and November, would see us race in Eurasia, Asia and the Americas, finishing the season in the Gulf in December with Bahrain before the traditional finale in Abu Dhabi, having completed between 15-18 races. We will publish our finalised calendar as soon as we possibly can.”

Carey added, “We expect the early races to run without fans but we hope that fans will be part of our events as we move further into the schedule,” before noting the logistical and other challenges still facing the sport, while reiterating F1’s commitment to safeguarding the health and safety of all involved as the sport emerges from the enforced hiatus.

All of which promises a thrilling prospect for the second half of a year that promises a huge challenge too. Sunday 5 July ends week 27 of the ‘double’ year, as some say Nostradamus predicted, which means there are 25 weeks to go from there.

Take away two weeks for the traditional Festive Season shutdown in most countries and you’re down to 23 usable weeks between second week July and mid-December, and let’s take off another week for luck. So let’s say they do scrounge 18 rounds out of it — and I really hope they do — that would mean racing eighteen times in twenty-three weeks!

Of course there’s every chance of a few double grand prix weekends, which will liberate a week per double race, but even with 14 GP weekends in 23 weeks, that would mean nine back-to-back races too.

Now consider this — the double races may well eliminate the need to travel between those weeks, but they still mean almost two weeks on the road. That’s exhausting enough. Never mind the likelihood of another race on the other side of the world the next weekend too and then for four of five rounds on the trot, somewhere along the line.

All dizzying and crushing prospects for anyone travelling with Formula 1 through the proposed condensed season

In short, should F1 pull off what it suggests, sure, that will be a great way to make up for these bewildering months when the world stood still. But all involved are also faced the extreme challenges that such a short season will present.

But that’s not all — never for a moment believe that F1 will be alone in its attempts to squeeze a full season into six tight months. Every other form of racing, every other sport, all those events that buckled un the shutdown will just as vigorously chase to make up for lost time as they too strive to deliver what probably the craziest six months the world has ever known.

All I can add, is bring it on!