Super Formula season could finish in December
The 2020 Super Formula season could conclude as late as December due to the disruption caused to the schedule by the global coronavirus pandemic.
Japan’s premier single-seater category had already postponed its first two rounds at Suzuka and Fuji, both of which were due to take place in April, amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Motorsport.com has learned that May’s Autopolis race is now also likely to be moved back, meaning the earliest the season is likely to begin is at Sugo on June 20-21.
During this week's Fuji pre-season test, a revised schedule was communicated to teams in which Autopolis became the second round of the season on August 15-16, two weeks ahead of the Motegi event on August 29-30.
As part of the schedule, November’s Suzuka round would become a double-header, while Fuji would host the season finale on December 12-13. That would mean the first December finish for the championship since 1987.
However, this schedule was distributed prior to the news that the Olympic Games in Tokyo have been postponed, which could lead to further changes as the 2020 Super Formula calendar had been originally designed to avoid any overlap with the Games.
Foreign drivers facing travel dilemma
Super Formula commenced pre-season testing at Fuji this week but the series' second pre-season test at Suzuka has been called off, as concerns grow in Japan that the coronavirus problem could worsen in the coming weeks.
With the prospect of track action taking place in the near future now remote, some of the championship's foreign drivers are now facing tough decisions with their travel plans.
Red Bull-backed Mugen driver Juri Vips, who was planning to be based in the UK this season, told Motorsport.com he is now considering staying in Japan indefinitely to avoid any problems with being allowed back into the country once racing resumes.
Drago Corse driver Tatiana Calderon and new B-Max/Motopark recruit Sergio Sette Camara, both of whom are based in Spain, could face similar difficulties, although both have other commitments that would make a permanent relocation to Japan problematic.
Calderon is due to take part in the recently-rescheduled Le Mans 24 Hours and European Le Mans Series for Richard Mille Racing, while Sette Camara is a reserve driver for both the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team the Dragon Racing squad in Formula E.
Sacha Fenestraz, who is based in Japan, also revealed he had cancelled plans to visit his native Argentina because of the prospect of being stuck in quarantine.
Fenestraz's Kondo Racing teammate Kenta Yamashita relocated to Germany at the start of the year as part of his Toyota FIA World Endurance Championship training programme, but is now understood to have temporarily moved back to Japan.
Super GT and Super Formula tests called off
Super Formula postpones May's Autopolis race