Fans of Formula 1 have to wait exactly a month before the start of the next World Cup. The leadership of the series confirmed the holding of at least eight races in 2020 and published their calendar. Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the organizers hope to spend the season in the most prestigious auto racing series.
The World Cup will begin with the Austrian Grand Prix, which will be held in the same time frame as originally expected - from July 3 to 5. There, on the Red Bull Ring circuit, another race will take place a week later. It will be called the Styrian Grand Prix in honor of the federal state where the race track is located. The Hungarian Grand Prix is scheduled for next weekend.
Then at Silverstone will be the Grand Prix of Great Britain and the Grand Prix of the 70th anniversary of Formula 1, named after the first race in history. On August 14-16, the Spanish Grand Prix will take place, which was to be held from May 8 to 10. After a week-long break, the season will resume in Belgium, and the Italian Grand Prix will be held in early September. Both races have retained their original dates.
The remaining stages previously scheduled for 2020 are either canceled or postponed indefinitely. The leadership of Formula 1 announced that it hopes to hold a total of 15 to 18 races by December 2020. This position of management leaves hope that the Russian Grand Prix will be held in Sochi, the organizers of which continue to prepare for the September weekend. At the same time, such a legendary race as the Monaco Grand Prix will definitely not take place, since it was possible to conduct it only in May days set aside for this.
All eight approved stages will pass without spectators, which for the royal races can be called a big loss - some Grand Prix attracted about 150 thousand people. The leadership of Formula 1 does not give up hope to gather fans in the stands later if the situation with coronavirus in the world improves, but so far they do not give any guarantees.
The number of personnel involved in the first eight races of the season will be significantly reduced. If usually from 3 to 5 thousand people are involved in work at each Grand Prix, now their number will be reduced to 1.2 thousand. Each team will receive only 80 seats in the paddock instead of the usual 130, and the television team will be reduced to 60 people.
The leadership of Formula 1 promised to take maximum safety measures in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during races. Before the race, tests for coronavirus will be conducted, and promoters will be required to provide access to personal protective equipment. Teams will be isolated from each other, and all Grand Prix participants will have to observe a two-meter distance during their work. At the same time, it is noted that if during a race weekend a case of coronavirus infection is confirmed, the stage will not be automatically canceled, said the head of Formula 1 Chase Carey.
“A positive test result for an infection in a single person will not lead to the cancellation of the race. We urge the teams to have a specific procedure in case any of the participants need to be quarantined so that they can be isolated at the hotel and replaced. If a team fails to take part, this will not lead to the cancellation of the entire race. If one of the riders becomes infected, the teams have spare pilots, ”said Carey.
The consent to the Formula 1 racing in this format and in such conditions was given by all interested parties - pilots, teams, promoters, sponsors and governments of the countries where the first eight Grand Prix will be held, as well as the International Automobile Federation (FIA). Not everyone was completely satisfied with the decisions taken. So, the head of the AlphaTauri team, Franz Toast, expressed regret that there will be no fans at the races.
“Of course, the atmosphere will be strange. It is a pity that none of the audience will be able to attend. But this is the first important step to return Formula 1 to its familiar format. The requirements are very strict, and we have already enforced them at our bases, which allowed the most important employees to return to work on June 1 and begin preparations for the new season, ”RaceFans quotes Toast.
According to the publication, a serious problem for teams in the new season may be the lack of spare parts, which may arise due to downtime of manufacturers during quarantine. The first two races in Austria can only aggravate the situation, since the local track is known for its high curbs, which more often than not cause mechanical breakdowns.