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F1 returns four months later in a different world


There will be no spectators at the Spielberg circuit in Austria. The coronavirus does not allow defining how many races may be contested during this year

Four months after the first race was canceled at the last minute, the Formula One season will kick off this weekend on another continent.

There will be no spectators at the Spielberg circuit in Austria. The coronavirus situation does not make it possible to clarify how many races can ultimately be contested – and where, the AP agency indicates.

And this will not be the only unusual thing. The drivers debate whether they will kneel on the grid prior to Sunday’s race as a gesture of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton has raised his voice in support of the move and will compete with a Mercedes car painted entirely in black –instead of silver – as a message against racism.

“It is very important to take advantage of this moment,” said Hamilton, the only black driver to become F1 champion.

The truncated season will open with a couple of consecutive races in Austria, as part of an impromptu schedule. The championship was originally to begin in the Australian city of Melbourne, almost 10,000 miles away.

But the rapid advance of the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of the Australian GP on March 13, two days before the race. People were queuing up to witness the first practices. Several other races, such as the iconic Monaco GP, were also canceled.

F1 will have its first race of the year. It is not yet known how many there will be in 2020

Uncertain season

It is about saving the season with the dispute of eight races in Europe over 10 weeks, closing with the Italian GP on September 6. F1 has not yet defined what to do with other postponed races, to complete the season with between 15 and 18 of the 22 valid ones that were scheduled.

Too two consecutive races will be held on the British Grand Prix circuit. If the season continues outside Europe, it will culminate with expeditions to Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in December.

“We don’t know how many races we are going to race,” said Carlos Sainz Jr., current McLaren driver and future of Ferrari. “It is an unprecedented situation.”

Strict protocol

The Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, far from urban areas, offers a secluded site amid so much fear of the coronavirus.

But a strict sanitary protocol has been established. Everyone who enters the track, including a small group of journalists, has to undergo COVID-19 tests negative, with additional diagnoses every five days. Members of F1 teams have been banned from hanging out with their rivals – on or off the track – and the press will not have access to the paddock, the AP agency said.

Pilots often have to answer a battery of questions in a crowded media room, but the lectures were via video links and the questions were submitted in advance.

And of course the 4.3 kilometer Spielberg circuit was almost deserted. On a typical day, the site would be packed with tents and dozens of Max Verstappen fans.

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Written by Argentina News

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