Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc believes that when Formula One returns the drivers will take greater risks in order to maximise their chances since there will be fewer races to decide the championship.

Nine grand prix meetings have been called off, with late June pencilled in as the earliest possible resumption, and while F1 is hoping to stage up to 19 races, given the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic Leclerc said a curtailed calendar would shift the drivers’ approach.

“With less and less races people will want to take more risks,” he said. “So we might have some surprises and it will be exciting to watch. I am sure Mercedes and Lewis [Hamilton] are still the favourites, even in an eight-race championship, but probably we will all risk a bit more on track – risky strategies, risky overtakes.”

Drivers would probably take time to find their rhythm after more than six months without racing. “It is going to be difficult,” he added. “The mindset, to find the bubble you need to be in just before getting into the car, this is something that once you don’t do it for a long time it is difficult to get back to this state.”

Silverstone and Austria could host two back-to-back races and Leclerc said that the old schedule and race structure would have to be discarded. “We have to unfortunately,” he said. “There are races that are already cancelled and races that will be postponed again. The whole calendar is going to be reshuffled so we have to think of alternatives.

“We have to make the most of this situation and if this means we race twice on the same circuit we should look at that to ensure the most races possible.”

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