A huge positive move forward has been agreed by the countries in Europe with cross border restrictions planned to be lifted next month in June – Crucial for Formula 1 to begin in earnest the following July.
TJ13 reported on an FIA leaked memo sent to F2 and F3 teams last Sunday, you can read about that at the bottom of this article.
The FIA, Liberty Media and various European governments have been in discussion behind closed doors, all in a bid to restart the Formula 1 season as soon as possible (amongst other things).
Liberty has also taken advice from the UK government regarding the coming 14 day quarantine period for incoming international travel. It is understood that the measures taken at a closed Grand Prix will negate the 14 day quarantine period for teams returning to the UK.
Swiss Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter held talks on Monday and Tuesday with her counterparts from Germany, Austria and France. If the number of infections in these countries falls, freedom of travel is to be restored.
Further, it is expected that all borders in and out of Austria will be fully open in the following month of July during the Grand Prix doubleheader week.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Swiss television:
“The border closures made sense, but today the situation in both Austria and Switzerland has improved to such an extent that we will be able to agree on significant easing in the next few days and completely end border controls by June”.
The German-Austrian border should be open again from June 15th, as confirmed by the Federal Chancellery. Sebastian Kurz also telephoned his counterpart Angela Merkel on Tuesday. The German government wants to discuss further steps at its meeting this Wednesday.
It is expected that the border at Italy will take a while longer to open due to the severity of the Covid 19 outbreak there.
FIA official confirmation: Austria & Silverstone races go ahead
10th May 2020
That’s correct, you read the title right – TJ13 understands that as far as the FIA are concerned, the green light has been given to teams for doubleheader F1 races in Austria and Silverstone, kick-starting the Formula 1 season.
Leaked memo: Thus far the FIA memo has been sent to FIA F2 and F3 teams, therefore it is expected that Formula 1 teams have also been given the confirmation, but under strict embargo not to release it to the general public or press.
Sources close to TJ13 within the F2 and F3 paddock have released information stating official FIA confirmation that “both Austria and Silverstone will take place.” and that the FIA has arranged isolated accommodation to ensure the safety of teams at each Grand Prix. Details and the confirmation from the FIA were sent out last Friday to the feeder series teams.
How the FIA plan to run F1, F2 & F3 at Red Bull Ring & Silverstone during Covid-19
A source working for an un-named feeder series team reveals some details of the plans contained within the memo.
“Every team will be placed in a different hotel, no sponsors, more than one parent [of young drivers] or managers allowed on track, team limitation will be the same as always” confirms the paddock source.
No journalists will be allowed within the circuits, and only FOM TV crews are thus far cleared for access. It’s unclear if TV stations will be allowed to enter as yet.
22 Hotels have been booked ready for the 31 F2 and F3 teams, plus the additional 10 F1 teams, in and around Speilberg. It is now up to the teams to make their arrangements with the earmarked venues for accommodation on a first come first serve basis.
Flights have been chartered for the teams that require them to get to Austria in an attempt to move everyone on mass from the UK. This will be the case for everyone apart from Ferrari, Alpha Tauri, and Alfa Romeo who will use separate flight arrangements from Italy and Switzerland respectively.
It is clear that the Silverstone race will be logistically the easiest, and therefore the safest, as most teams can take coaches directly from their bases in the UK.
Dates set for the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix & the British Grand Prix
The F1 races for the Austrian Grand Prix will be held on Sunday 5th of July and then the following Wednesday 8th or Thursday 9th, obviously behind closed doors. Previously, it had been speculated that Formula 1 would run the following weekend for these doubleheaders but the logistical issues have moved that plan forward into midweek.
FIA F2 and F3 have been told that they’ll run their first races on Saturday, 2nd races on Sunday, 3rd on Tuesday and 4th Wednesday.
New dates for the 2020 British Grand Prix
FOM (Liberty) and the FIA will mandate teams to break down their cars, motorhomes and garages at the end of the week, allow a few days off over the following weekend, then move the entire paddock to the UK for the British Grand Prix set for the weekend of the 18th and 19th of July without breaking the isolation from Austria.
The second F1 race will therefore be run on either Wednesday 22nd or Thursday 23rd of July. It is unclear what comes next, but we would normally see the race in Hungary next on the calendar.
Keeping the teams safe
TJ13 understands that it will be strict testing for anyone cleared to enter the circuits for the Grand Prix events. Everyone in the paddock will be tested every two days for Corona. If someone is positive, the entire team will be disallowed entry.
It is unclear how this might apply for a tyre or chassis supplier such as Pirelli or Dallara (for the feeder series).
The recent UK quarantine rules announced forcing anyone entering the United Kingdom must be quarantined for 14 days won’t apply in this situation as everyone returning will be proven negative for Covid 19, plus evidence will be given to UK authorities that strict isolation at the Red Bull Ring has occurred.
TJ13 will update you further as more information is leaked.
Brawn reveals some details
“One of the biggest logistical challenges will be to test everyone in order to allow access to the paddock,” said Ross Brawn in a podcast on the Formula One website.
“As soon as we can do that, I think it will be very tempting to keep everyone in that environment.
“It’s a kind of biosphere that we want to create for other races. Austria is a perfect fit with an airport close to the circuit. It’s not close to a big city and it has all the necessary infrastructure.
“There will be no trucks and the circuit will have all its catering facilities. We can accommodate everyone in this environment.
Brawn assures “that no risk will be taken and everything will be done properly”
“It’s a huge logistical challenge. Organising a Grand Prix in the current circumstances is new for us. We are working to provide a safe environment for the drivers, engineers, technicians and everyone involved in the race.”
On Friday, the organisers of the Hungarian Grand Prix announced that the race will be held behind closed doors. The Hungarian Grand Prix is scheduled for August 2nd, just after Silverstone in the UK.
The Belgian Grand Prix is scheduled for August 30th at Spa-Francorchamps and the organisers are awaiting the green light from the authorities to hold it behind closed doors.
Austria wants guarantees to allow its Grand Prix
Austria, which is expected to host the first Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season on 5th July at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, will only give the go-ahead on the basis of the organiser’s safety guarantees, the Health Minister said on Thursday.
The government’s authorisation to hold this event “depends entirely on the security concept that the organisers present,” Rudolf Anschober told public radio Ö1…. READ MORE ON THIS STORY