How Coronavirus is Affecting Teams Up and Down the F1 Grid24 Mar
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The global coronavirus emergency has had major implications for sport and the wider community. Formula 1, like other racing championships, is reacting to news on a day-to-day basis in order to plan how the rest of the season will go ahead.
In a statement on the website, F1 stated “The health and safety of the F1 fans, family and wider communities is always paramount. With the continuing spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and its impact on global communities, F1 is in constant dialogue with promoters, governmental bodies and expert health authorities to ensure the safeguarding of everyone inside and around the sport.”
What races have been affected by Coronavirus?
The Australian Grand Prix was the first race to be cancelled, with McLaren sent into self-isolation the day before the inaugural weekend of the season.
Next up it was the Chinese Grand Prix, which was postponed midway through February until later on in the season.
Vietnam GP was next to be cancelled. With Formula 1 citing the track’s location: 100 miles from the border of China making it a stumbling block.
The second race of the season at Bahrain was also postponed, with it initially being discussed to take place behind closed doors.
Midway through March, it was announced that Monaco, Dutch and Spanish GPs were all scrapped due to the outbreak in mainland Europe. Alongside the postponement of the Azerbaijan GP a week later.
With the virus showing no signs of stopping, it’s likely that as time goes on more and more will be cancelled and/or postponed.
The rearrangement of the F1 Summer Shutdown period
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Summer Shutdown period which was initially scheduled midway through the season has been brought forward.
The break, usually two weeks long, signals a period for when teams, factories and drivers must cease all race-related activities. This has now been moved to March and April and extended to three weeks to combat the spread of the virus throughout the teams in the paddock.
In order to move the Shutdown period, all teams must be in unanimous agreement, and unsurprisingly this was the case.
For the teams the rescheduled and extended break will help in terms of keeping overheads lower and also pave the way for the championship to race through the summer break.
Making the most out of the situation
F1 teams across the paddock have also pitched in to join the fight against the virus. Pledging to help in the manufacturing of the life-saving ventilators required by the medical experts around the world The teams are well placed to mobilise their workforces and state-of-the-art technologies to help manufacture complex products in a short space of time.
Virtual Grand Prix
Despite the Bahrain GP being cancelled, the Virtual GP managed to go ahead with current and former drivers jostling for the spoils against other celebrities in the inaugural eSports GP.
Sir Chris Hoy, Lando Norris, Nico Hulkenberg and many more participated in the event which was filmed live on Sky Sports and Youtube, giving fans some much needed entertainment whilst the actual racing is paused.
All options open
The key takeaway from the ever-changing situation is that F1 bosses up and down the grid are keeping all options open. Staying as flexible as can possible be in uncertain times in order to salvage the season. It is feasible for the season to be cut short to a minimum of eight races and also possible for the season to run into 2021. As things stand, nobody can quite predict how it will unfold.
All we know is that Red Eye will be helping you along the way!