Formula 1 race director Michael Masi says the sport can be proud of how it has adjusted to racing amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but cannot afford to become complacent.
The first 10 races on the 2020 F1 calendar were cancelled or postponed due to the outbreak, following which the sport agreed new rules to allow races to go ahead as ‘Closed Events’. This meant closing the venue to spectators, permitting only minimal race staff to attend and segregating teams from each other to minimise the danger of spreading any infection.
Masi said he was pleased with the smooth running of the first three races under the new restrictions in Austria and Hungary.
“I think as a sport and as an industry, we should be very proud of what we have achieved over these first three events,” he said after Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“Considering the time that we’ve had collectively between the FIA and together with F1 in developing the return to racing plan, the methods, the protocols, the support from everyone throughout the pit lane, journalists, support categories has been fantastic. So I think as an industry we should be extremely proud of what we have achieved.
“Yes, it’s been a learning experience for all of us. There’s been minor tweaks along the way. But overall as a process and as a structure I think we’re about there so I’m quite proud of what we’ve done.”
Those who attended the opening three races were tested for Covid-19 every five days. Despite conducting over 4,000 tests per week, only two positive cases were detected. These occured ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, and did not disrupt the running of the event.
“There’s certainly a level of confidence,” said Masi, adding, “not to be complacent is probably the big part” for the sport.
“The fact that we have got through the three events with only the two cases, but effectively outside of the paddock, one thing that we all need to be conscious of is that Covid-19 is very much around us and everywhere globally.
“So we can’t just drop the ball getting to Silverstone and think we’re invincible. The only thing that I can say is that my biggest fear is people becoming complacent. We just need to stick with the process that we’ve developed.”
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2020 F1 season