Different approach will be applied for the races - Saillant

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Gerard Saillant, President of the FIA Institute has revealed Formula 1 needs to be prepared that it might have to follow different regulations if it starts visiting countries.

With the global spreading of the novel coronavirus epidemic having coincided with the start of the 2020 F1 season, the championship has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The season-opening race was delayed and the earliest the championship can start is the Austrian Grand Prix that is scheduled for June 5.

Formula 1 is currently working on a back-up plan to save the 2020 season which is essential for the financial well-being of the championship participants. However, the sport can only kick off the season if it can guarantee safety for the travelling staff of the championship.

Gerard Saillant who was appointed as President of the FIA Institute following the retirement of Professor Sid Watkins in 2011 thinks that the situation has massively changed in recent months after scientists have gained information about the core features of the novel COVID-19 virus.

"The situation has evolved since Australia. We have provided a rapid response device to confirm the diagnosis, isolate and test people who may have been in contact with a positive case," he told L’Equipe.

It is believed that the season could get underway in Austria. After a double-header race at the Red Bull Ring, the field could head towards Great Britain where the 20 drivers will compete in two British Grands Prix. Saillant said that the sport will need to adapt its protocol to each country's individual measures and to each venue's specific environment.

"What will happen in Austria may be different from what will happen in Germany or Hungary. Each country has different regulations, and the situation of the circuit, of the hotels, will also influence this confinement rule. If the track is in the countryside, things are different than if it is in a city.

"Singapore or Vietnam would have a completely different medical organization if they were organizing a grand prix today. Singapore's government could force the entire paddock to be isolated for a fortnight before we can access the track. For Austria, it’s different. The country is emerging from its crisis which has been relatively moderate,” he concluded.