After 9 races postponed, the 2020 Formula 1 season has not started yet. The Canadian Grand Prix was supposed to mark the start of the season, but a few days ago, it was announced that the race is postponed. The French Grand Prix is the next one in the calendar, but it is seemed that it will be postponed as well. If we go even further, the Belgian GP announced today that the sale of tickets for the event has been cancelled due to the statement that the Belgian government made in terms of the prohibition of huge events in which conglomerations are seen. Formula 1, and a lot of sports as well, has been looking for viable options to start racing despite the situation that the world is going through. There has been an option that involves using face masks, virus tests, low amount of personnel, etc, so there is not a possibility to have the virus around the paddock, but McLaren’s team principal, Andreas Seidl has commented that this option is not viable because the material that F1 needs to do it (face masks, test, etc) can be more useful if medical personal use them, in other words, Seidl commented that Formula 1 cannot waste coronavirus tests to speed up return.
“What I think is an important point is the public acceptance of events happening again. I think it’s important that you only go back to go racing once we also have certainty when it comes down to protective equipment and that the number of tests for people are all in place.” Commented Seidl in an interview that was reported by motorsport.com.
“I think there’s a big desire from people, from the public, from the fans, that especially in these lockdown situations we are all in at the moment, that sport events are happening again – even if it’s just on TV. But again, obviously, there’s a lot of different aspects that need to be considered”. Explained McLaren’s team principal.
Let’s remember that McLaren withdrew from the first Grand Prix of the season, the 2020 Australian Grand Prix, as one of its staff members tested positive for the Chinese virus. This means that McLaren’s biggest priority is the safety of its personnel and they will not be competing if they do not feel safe in terms of this virus.
“As always, the most important thing is to protect our people, we can’t go back to racing until we definitely know that our people are safe. Then I think it will simply depend on the guidelines of our home countries, first of all, and then the travel guidelines.”
One factor that Andreas commented is particularly important, we are talking about the importance of the sponsors and promoters. Each and every sponsor that supports a Grand Prix event has a strategy that decides if whether they give money to the organizers of the event or not. For example, the Mexican Grand Prix has a lot of sponsors that take the advantage of the date that the GP is supposed to have. This event is normally celebrated on the last week of October and in this year, it will take place on the weekend from October 30th to November the 1st. In Mexico, during these dates is celebrated the day of the death and the sponsors support the event thanks to the Mexican celebration, but what if the Mexican Grand Prix is postponed? Will the sponsors keep supporting the event even though it is not raced in the stipulated date? Considering this, Andreas Seidl said:
“And I think also, you need to see what the promoters are deciding because, especially with the changes of dates also for a lot of races, the promoters need to be up for it and it need to make sense from the commercial point of view also for the promoters for Formula 1.”