The world became very strange this year, didn’t it? It was just beginning to go wobbly as F1 prepared to head off to Melbourne in March. For a race that never happened, fans queued up at gates that would never open as the organisers and F1 engaged in a game of stand-off about who exactly would be calling the event off after a confirmed Covid case from within a team – for that call had big financial implications.
Those consequences would run far wider and deeper than just that race, of course. Everyone went home and lay low in the dark days of the first wave of the pandemic and the originally scheduled calendar fell like a house of cards. The factory shutdowns were brought forward from summer, redundancies were made – and nothing was certain. Not even if there would be a season at all or whether all the teams could survive, starved of income.
But Formula 1 is like a virus itself. It quickly mutated a way to have a season. Liberty Media – after refinancing itself from its parent company – showed extraordinary resolve and creativity in making it happen, driven of course by the economically terrifying prospects of not doing so.