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F1 drivers are ready for “ghost races”

According to Alex Wurz, the championship develops a plan of hosting races without spectators, and all drivers support this.

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F1 drivers are ready for “ghost races”
Fuente imagen: Twitter.com

At the moment, the resumption of the Formula 1 championship is planned in July, where the first Grand Prix will be hosted by Austria. Since the coronavirus pandemic still has a strong impact throughout the world, Formula 1 and FIA management decide how to host races in these conditions. Now it is clears it will be "ghost races", but it is not the only requirement.

Recently there was a meeting with Formula 1 representatives and FIA bosses about races that planned in July in Austria. Grand Prix Drivers' Association chairman Alex Wurz represented drivers there and said it was "beautiful to see" how every angle has been covered.

"It was not a negotiation," Wurz said in a Sky Vodcast. "It was just to discuss and debate and use the collective brain power of everyone involved in our sport to ensure that we can come back as early and also as safely as we can."

Also Alex compared current work on minimise the risks of the spreading COVID-19 at Grand Prix with regular support of the safety racing that promoted since the tragedies in Imola 1994.

"Motor racing, especially since the Senna/Ratzenberger accidents in Imola, even though we are pushing every day the driving to the limit, we became an incredibly safe industry. Everyone in the motor sport world, from the mechanics, the team bosses, the officials, is used to very strict safety protocols," Wurz explained.

"And that has worked fantastically over the last three or four decades. Sir Jackie Stewart started the whole idea of safety, and the sport, never compromising on performance, has become extremely safe," Alex added.

"Actually it was beautiful to see that all the involved people from the FIA, F1 also in this case drivers and other key stakeholders really went very systematically through the entire process in order that internally we can ensure that we are doing everything we know of to ensure safety for the participants, and also for the nation."

Wurz told the races will be held only in that countries where the local medical system will not be affected by hosting Grand Prix.

"We are not going to nations and we are not going to places where the crisis is so acute that there is not enough capacity in the medical system – the medical system within our closed circuit, but definitely in the medical system around in the nation, or in the region. That is 100 per cent, and Jean Todt as well as Chase Carey, they have made it very clear," Wurz said.

As for Austria, this country was not affected by virus a lot and had a little number of COVID-19 cases. That is why Formula 1 considers this stage as possible for hosting even "ghost" race.

"I’m Austrian, I know that we have full capacity. We were lucky as a nation, the cases were very little and low numbers. In terms of medical treatment, medical space, emergency units around the Red Bull Ring, there is no problem," Alex added.

"Then we have to ensure that we are not passing the virus on between the industry and the hosting nation. And equally within our circuit we have to make sure that we distance between each other to minimise the risk of passing on."

Alex admitted that races without fans are not what all of us want to watch, because both drivers and spectators love emotions, and it is what the sport is. However, holding "ghost" races will let the championship back to the normal life. Moreover, all F1 drivers support the idea of "ghost" races and ready to drive in front of empty stands.

"I think no one in motor sport, no driver, and personally me definitely not, is a fan of ghost races. Because we live from the emotions that are shared together," Wurz said.

"A football match or athletics, they have a stadium, we have a race track and 100,000 spectators who share this great event together, and that makes a big difference to how you feel.

"However all the drivers I have spoken to, and I am constantly in talks with them, no one has said I do not want to do it, or I feel it is the wrong thing to do," Alex told.

"It is actually the right thing to do because we have an obligation to our industry. F1 is a global industry, and like every government in the world, we are all trying to kickstart the industry, the economy, because people’s families and  mortgages depend on it. And it is the same in F1.

"So ghost races are a means to get us back on track earlier than if we wait for fan-attended races. Therefore we are looking for ghost races, and all the drivers accept that fully."

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