Teams will need to prepare themselves for a new norm when the 2020 F1 season gets underway at Spielberg on July 5, say Red Bull team principal and Ferrari sporting director.
After Formula One released the opening phase of its heavily-revised 2020 calendar, teams started to gear up their preparation. The pre-Austria work does not only include work at the factories, but several teams arranged private tests to shake off the dust ahead of the season-opener.
Following Mercedes’ private test at Silverstone, AlphaTauri, Renault, Racing Point and Ferrari also organized some runs to practice the new protocols that Formula 1 will put in place to promote the safety and health of competitors and staff. Red Bull has been the last team to hold a private test when the Milton Keynes based outfit used up one of its two filmings days at the National Circuit of the Silverstone track with Alexander Albon behind the wheel.
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said that the private test has been vitally important in the preparation for the opening races where unprecedented protocols will be put in place.
“We’ve been at Silverstone to get ourselves back up to speed, practicing garage protocols and pitstop procedures with the new COVID-19 precautions in place. As a trial run this has been great for the team to enable them to get used to these procedures, which are a little bit foreign, but which are vitally important.
“By the time we get to Austria, these procedures will be the new normal and today ensures that everybody knows what’s expected of them when we get to Austria. It’s important for the safety of our team and everyone around us in Formula 1,” he said.
The strict protocols will see team members wear face coverings, other forms of PPE, full face shields, observe social distancing while the modern motorhomes will be replaced by tents.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies indicated that the wearing of the face masks will present the biggest hurdle for team members. "I think in a very basic way, the biggest challenge, especially for the guys in the garage, will be to wear a mask pretty much all the time.
"We have been starting to get used to it, and for all of us now it's becoming a part of our normal life. Actually here in Ferrari, it's compulsory, so we wear it at all times in the factory and in the office."
The former deputy F1 race director has revealed Ferrari tried to give advice to its mechanics and engineers how to use the face coverings in a way that is relatively comfortable for them.
"But it's one thing to wear it in an office environment, it is something else to wear it when it will be 40 degrees and very hot at the racetrack. All credit to the medical and first response persons that are used to doing it and are wearing it on a regular basis every day of their working life."