Formula One motorsport boss Ross Brawn has admitted that the constantly evolving coronavirus pandemic is creating an uncertain situation around the 2020 F1 season.
Liberty Media and the FIA have released the opening phase of the 2020 F1 championship with eight European rounds forming the start of the delayed season. The early races of the championship will be held behind closed doors. It will be the first time in the 70-year history of the sport that grands prix take place without spectators.
It is yet to be determined when or if fans will be allowed to attend race weekends in 2020. Speaking during the 2020 FIA eConference, Brawn admitted that Formula One will be cautious when it comes to the attendance of fans.
“We won’t rush that. Some of the later European races are optimistic, but we prefer not to plan on that. I think it’s when we go to the flyway races that we can start to hope that we will have fans, but even that’s not absolutely guaranteed.”
When the delayed 2020 F1 season finally gets underway in Austria on July 5, a strict protocol will be put in place to promote the well-being of drivers, teams and every participant. Apart from being a ’ghost’ race, teams, organizational staff and the media will be present in a heavily reduced number while social distancing will be implemented in the paddock area.
Ferrari’s former technical director said that Formula One is working on how to get back to its normal rhythm, but it will take everything step by step.
“To have the race in a safe and secure environment is critical. We’re going around the world, we can’t have a problem in one country that stops us going to other countries so we’ll progress slowly on that front. We’ll take that very gradually and we certainly won’t…we don’t want to jump in and have to jump out again when we find the problem.”
Drawing comparisons between Formula 1 and football, Brawn indicated that fans are very important for the pinnacle of motorsport, albeit not critical as for football.
“The fans for us are critical and there’s a lot of atmosphere and ambience created by the fans, but probably not quite as strong as it is in football.”
“You go to a football stadium and it’s very intense. Some races can be like that, a lot of races less so, so it’s perhaps not quite so critical for us, having the fans at the race but we do want to see them because they do add a lot of atmosphere,” he concluded.