The sport’s leading actors, the ten F1 teams have arrived at Spielberg and are getting themselves ready for the coronavirus-delayed start of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship.
The F1 community is just days away from the most intense season ever: the entire 2020 championship will be packed into half a year. The coronavirus outbreak put the season on hold in Australia when multiple infections were detected. Formula One and FIA have worked tirelessly over the last months to put the season back on track.
Following lengthy discussions with race promoters, teams and local authorities, the championship will finally get underway in Austria this weekend with a triple header. Teams arrived at Spielberg a few days ago with a crew of members who are building up the garages and create a special set-up in the paddock.
Keyword is now in these unprecedented times the special. Teams were unable to transport and install their luxurious motorhomes. As they will operate in a ’bubble’, they can not welcome guests. Instead of motorhomes, they will operate in three different locations: their garages, the offices inside their trucks and three containers. Both drivers of the teams will have access to a private container while the teams' press department will also receive a separate container.
Although F1 had to abandon its thrilling podium ceremonies, Alexandre Molina, Director of Events travelled to the Red Bull Ring to arrange a unique trophy presentation. Molina provided F1Technical’s Balazs Szabo with some pictures of what the paddock and the pit lane look like.
Formula One has established a draconic protocol to get the season up and running. The sport has dramatically reduced the number of people to ensure safety and social distancing in order to create a safe atmosphere when the sport revives at Spielberg.
The usually vivid paddock will be almost empty. Zero guests will be present in the paddock to the usual 3,000. While top teams usually travel to races with 130 members, they are now restricted to 80 personnel. 60 broadcast personnel will work at the scene compared to the usual 250 which has been made possible due to F1’s plans to operate a remote broadcast operation.
Moreover, teams will isolate from each other and in non-race critical areas, 2m social distance will be implemented. Teams usually work closely together with Formula One’s tyre supplier, Pirelli and their fuel and lubricant suppliers. That will not be the case this time. Pick-up and drop-off points will be established where team members and the suppliers can place the tyres and the oil containers, avoiding close contacts.
Team members will need to wear face covering (FFP2) in the garages. Drivers will also wear masks when they climb out of their cars.
At Spielberg, the organisers have set-up more than six coronavirus test stations. While every crew member and team member needs to arrive at the track with a negative test result, they will also be tested at the scene. They are expected to get tested twice during the race weekend. A test laboratory has been established at Ebersberg, located near Munich, that will operate 24 hours a day. The capacity is enough to perform 15,000 tests.