FIA will do its best to prevent Le Mans-F1 clash

FIA will do its best to prevent Le Mans-F1 clash

LE MANS • Formula One’s governing body, the FIA (International Automobile Federation), will do what it can to avoid a calendar clash next year between the 24 Hours of Le Mans and a grand prix, president Jean Todt told reporters at the 88th edition of the event.

This year’s F1 calendar had listed the Canadian Grand Prix on the same June weekend as Le Mans before the Covid-19 pandemic tore up the schedules, with the Montreal race ultimately cancelled.

Le Mans will be the highlight of a reduced six-round World Endurance Championship (WEC) season in 2021 with the race scheduled for June 12-13 on a provisional calendar published last Friday.

“Clearly, we will do as much as we can to avoid a clash between WEC and Formula One,” Todt said in a Zoom news conference.

“But of course it can also depend where Formula One will be located because the time zone has some importance.

“So we will do the best effort but that’s the maximum I can tell you.”

Formula One has yet to publish a draft 2021 calendar but is hoping to have a more familiar list of races after a condensed and reduced 2020 season. “We’re certainly planning on a 2021 that may not be completely business back to normal, but it’s pretty close,” chairman Chase Carey told Sky Sports television last month.

This year was supposed to have a record 22 rounds but now has only 17, the majority of them in Europe, with some new circuits brought in to replace those whose grands prix had to be cancelled.

Formula One drivers have competed at Le Mans and grands prix in the same season – Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg winning in 2015 and Fernando Alonso in 2018 while with Force India and McLaren respectively.

Hulkenberg was unable to defend his title in 2016 as the race clashed with the inaugural grand prix in Azerbaijan.

Separately, Todt last week revealed that F1 great Michael Schumacher was still fighting to overcome his devastating injuries from a ski accident seven years ago, and a renowned neurosurgeon has now offered an insight into the 51-year-old’s condition.

Speaking on a new documentary on French TV, Erich Riederer cast doubts over whether the German will ever be functional again.

He told TMC: “I think he’s in a vegetative state, which means he’s awake but not responding.

“He is breathing, his heart is beating, he can probably sit up and take baby steps with help, but no more.

“I think that’s the maximum for him. Is there any chance of seeing him like he was before his accident? I really don’t think so.”