While we are all waiting as patiently as possible (and filling the gap with the likes of eSports), there are rumbles of some races set to resume soon. However they are set to resume on the track only – literally behind closed doors with no spectators in sight.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, organisers have confirmed that the French Grand Prix has now been cancelled. Due to take place on the 28th of June at Circuit Paul Ricard, it cannot go ahead as French president Emmanuel Macron has stated that both social distancing measurements and bans on public gathering are to stay in place until at least the middle of July. In a statement, the organisers announced: “The health and safety of its spectators, its partners and all those involved in Formula 1 is a priority. The GIP Grand Prix de France – Le Castellet supports the decisions taken by the French Government.”
But there are some grassroot movements of certain races and tracks looking to reopen – albeit in very different and reduced capacities. In a letter that has been sent to ticket holders, Sturart Pringle (circuit boss) explains: “I am extremely disappointed to tell you that we are unable to stage this year’s British Grand Prix in front of the fans at Silverstone.” As such, they are working on the idea of still holding the race at Silverstone but with no spectators on site at all: “Following this weekend’s news from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport we are now working with them on the viability of an event behind closed doors. Should this be possible, it will be of some small comfort for you to know that the 2020 Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix will be [televised].”
Likewise MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta, who spoke in an interview with BT Sport, is pondering plans to hold some races without any spectators at the tracks: “We consider right now the most possible scenario is without the spectators . . . We are considering which circuits could organise these races without spectators.” This reflects an ethos that has been whispered about by many in the motorsport world but now seems to be gaining some tangible traction.
So we may be treated to some races yet – being able to enjoying them safely by watching them on a screen. When we can all go back to the track remains to be seen . . .
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