As reported by TJ13 just days ago, the 2020 Formula 1 season is set to start, finally – The Austrian Grand Prix is being further pushed for a doubleheader over two weekends set for the start of July.
Plans have moved forward for the 5th July and the 12th at Austria’s Red Bull Ring as confirmed by Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko in an interview on Austria’s radio station Ö3 on Friday.
Event organisers have fulfilled all requirements with his concept. Only a second wave of corona virus infection could prevent the first double event in Formula 1 history at the same circuit in the same country.
In view of the coronavirus pandemic, the framework will be strictly regulated: Fewer than 2000 people will make up the crowd, which will consist only of people essential to the event.
Fans in the stands will not be present, nor will journalists. All team members must prove a negative corona test shortly before arrival.
In addition, “talks were held with other European organisers” confirms Red Bull’s Helmut Marko on Ö3.
TJ13 understands it that only European races will be planned for the 2020 season. Advanced talks have been happening in Italy at Monza, Spain’s Barcelona circuit and UK’s Silverstone. All will be double races.
Although the French Grand Prix (28th June), the tenth of the 22 scheduled races of the season is also about to be cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 – major events are prohibited in France until mid-July. After Austria, however, the Formula 1 circus could move on to Great Britain. The island is home to the majority of the teams, making the British GP most likely to keep to their date of the 19th of July.
Formula 1 has to work on short-term solutions, and the way is paved for this: The World Motorsport Council approved the inclusion of a protective clause in the sports legislation on Friday.
This allows the FIA, the International Automobile Federation, to make rapid changes to the regulations “under exceptional circumstances”. “In exceptional circumstances, and if the FIA is of the opinion that the change in question is indispensable for securing the series”, in future no unanimity of the participants will be required, but only a simple majority.
In addition, the compulsory leave of the ten teams was extended from 35 to 63 days, as auto motor und sport reported on Friday. According to the report, the engine manufacturers Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda must now keep their factories closed for 49 days instead of 35. This should save further costs.
To bridge the gap, ailing teams will receive an early payment from the money pot by Liberty Media. This was confirmed by Liberty boss Greg Maffei. The aim is to ensure “that the teams are solvent.
Because they are part of what we need to be successful in 2020, 2021 and beyond,” said Maffei. “We have scenarios for zero races, for anything between 15 and 18 races, for races without spectators and only with the teams,” the American concludes.