Supercars CEO Sean Seamer has explained why the category backed out of its original plan to run two rounds of the current season in early 2021.
Since going into a coronavirus-induced hiatus the Aussie series has gone public with two versions of a revised 2020 calendar.
The first included a pair of rounds in the early stages of 2021, with a trip to New Zealand in January before a grand finale on the Bathurst 12 Hour weekend in early February.
However it later became clear that bleeding into 2021 had been met with resistance from teams and broadcaster Fox Sports, and a second revised schedule ending in Sydney in mid-December was released.
Expanding on the 2021 backflip Seamer says that neither the initial announcement, or the subsequent second version, were knee-jerk decisions.
Instead the call to no bleed into the new year was about wanting to limit the pain of the current truncated campaign to 2020, with hopes the 2021 season can be as normal as possible.
“There were no knee-jerk decisions. It’s been a process of a matter of weeks,” said Seamer.
“We’ve had to work with all of our different stakeholders to assess a range of different challenges associated with running into next year.
“Ultimately all it was doing was causing further disruption in 2021, so we decided to focus on making the hard decisions in 2020, and giving ourselves the best chance of a normal championship in 2021 – rather than carrying the disruption over.”
As for 2021, Seamer says the current plan is for a calendar not dissimilar to what was intended for this season – February to December with a lengthy winter break in the middle.
While there could be Supercars running at the Bathurst 12 Hour, perhaps a pre-season test, he’s anticipating the season proper won’t start until “mid-to-late February”.
However all that could have easily changed had Australia’s coronavirus scenario not eased in recent weeks – at least in most states – and the resumption of the season had been delayed.
If racing hadn’t resumed until later this year, Seamer says it wouldn’t have presented the right opportunity to make the long-touted summer series switch.
But, with racing set to start this weekend, the summer series plan will have to wait.
“Our current thinking is that we were pretty happy with the calendar we had for this year, we were pretty happy with the formats,” he said.
“We’d put a lot of effort into it. The current thinking is we should try and get back to that.
“A transition to a summer season would have made sense if we weren’t racing again until September or October; that would have been a very logical thing for us to do. And then running into next year and running over summer. It would have provided us the transition.
“The reality is, if I’m honest, is that we’re racing a lot earlier than we thought we were going to be three months ago. Or two months ago. Or even a month ago. The fact that we’re starting again in June means that it didn’t make sense to try and transition [to summer].”
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