Formula 1’s race director, Michael Masi, has admitted that everything will be different when the sport returns from it’s Coronavirus hiatus in July.
NASCAR’s return last month gave a taste of what to expect in this new era of motorsports. Minimal crew members for both teams and broadcasters, health checks for all those on site and of course strict social distancing policies. With other sports and series following the same protocols, F1 weekends will be no different.
“Everything’s actually going to be different,” Masi told Speedcafe.com. “There’s obviously various COVID-19 plans that we’ve put in place to make things safe, in the way that all the key stakeholders operate, be it the teams, be it F1, be it the FIA, be it the support categories…”
“We are all going to have to operate differently, between wearing the various elements of PPE, our regimes that we doled out, things are going to have to change slightly; how we interact with each other, and then with the broader group.
“There’s been a lot of thought around that, to make sure, again, just effectively, to maximise our operational resilience, for everyone to get through as many events as possible,” he added.
“There’ll be slight changes from the perspective of how we operate internally, but from a race control perspective, nothing that will necessary be visual (to) those people viewing on television.
“With regards to the marshal themselves, out on the track, who are an important part of what we do, again, they’ll have various policies and procedures in place, the FIA’s circulated some guidance for that.
“Also, coming into that, we use each of the respective country’s and region’s specific laws around what they can and can’t do.
“So, overall, it will be fine. There’s been a lot of thought put into it all now.”
Masi also reiterated that the plans in place are only intended to be temporary with a return to normality as soon as reasonably possible:
“I think as soon as it’s number one, safe, is the big part, and then everything else flows from that.
“But, whatever the time period that sits around that is, we’ll continue to work with it. For the moment we’ve got now our own plan in place, and we’ve got enough flexibility within that,”
The 2020 F1 season is set to get underway on July 3-5 with the first race of a Austrian Grand Prix double header at the Red Bull Ring. The race weekend will feature a host of support categories adding to the logistical nightmares at hand, but fingers crossed we don’t see another false start à la Australia.