FIA layout Coronavirus protocols
The head of the FIA medical commission Gerard Saillant has told the French newspaper L’Equipe that the biosecurity protocols mean it will not have to cancel future Grands Prix in the wake of a positive test for the coronavirus.
The first race of the season was abandoned after a member of McLaren tested positive for Coronavirus, but Saillant has indicated there is no need to fear a repeat.
he told L’Equipe “The situation has evolved from Australia. We have provided a rapid response device to confirm the diagnosis, isolate and test people who have been in contact with a positive case.
“For me, the Grand Prix would not be cancelled. It is as if you were telling me that the metro is closed because a traveller has been positively diagnosed there.”
However, he admits that the situation could vary from country to country as each country has different regulations in place to stop the spread of coronavirus. He pointed out that for races in Singapore and Vietnam the paddock could have to be isolated for two weeks on entry.
Speaking about Austria the planed season opener, Saillant said, “For Austria, it’s different. The country is emerging from the crisis which, at home, has been relatively moderate. In this safe country, the rule of the game would be to do something in the even safer paddock.”
Pressed further on how F1 will protect a paddock that, even with only essential personnel could still contain 2,000 people, Saillant maintained that “maximum measures” will be taken to “limit the risks”.
The FIA is working with the International Red Cross to deliver the 1,000 tests a day which will need for the races to go ahead. However, he tests practised today may not be the same in July.
He also says that there will be strict rules on teams when it comes to isolating without interacting with other teams.
Ferrari hopes for short term loses in revenue
Ferrari is hoping that the loss of revenue from Formula One team will be “short-lived” through 2020 as it braces for a drop in prize money and sponsorship income. All ten teams are anticipating a fall in revenue from racing activities this year due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The opening ten races have even been cancelled or postponed because of the pandemic, the sport is hopeful of holding up to eighteen races this season. However, restrictions and the lack of income from events, as well as on-track activity, sponsorship and closed doors events means revenue will fall leading to a drop in prize money.
Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri told investors that F1 was the one activity that would affect the company’s financial results “in the harshest manner” this year, as well as being “by far the hardest to predict”. But Camilleri said he was optimistic the dip in F1 revenue would only last through 2020 and not stretch into next year.
He said, “While the Formula 1 hit to revenues and earnings is not an easy matter to digest, the good news is that the significant losses incurred should be short-lived and contained to 2020.” Camilleri says that the revenue streams are unpredictable, but is expecting them to come back in 2021.
He says at this stage he doesn’t see a reduction for Liberty in terms of revenues for next season, they should all be equal.
F1 teams have agreed to carried over to next year to reduce development costs for teams, while a reduced budget cap of $145 million is also planned for 2021.
Camilleri hailed the “substantial progress” teams had made to cut costs going forward but said there was no way to completely offset the financial impact of 2020. He also says that there is no way the costs can been offset by cost reductions.
Ferrari test crucial to Kvyat’s return to F1
Daniil Kvyat has revealed his 2018 Ferrari test at Fiorano played a crucial part in his F1 comeback at Alpha Tauri. The Russian was dropped by the team, formerly known as Toro Rosso, for 2018 with the Italian manufacturer signing him up as development driver.
After a year out Kvyat was given another chance with the team, partnering Alexander Albon and then Pierre Gasly at Red Bull’s second team Toro Rosso.
As part of his role with the team, he did a Pirelli wet tyre test in April at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track. That test with the Ferrari SF71H made a big impression on Kvyat and strengthened his resolve to chase a Formula 1 comeback.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, the Russian says despite four years experience at Toro Rosso and Red Bull, Kvyat admitted he felt nervous before his Ferrari test. He said, “I remember I was very nervous at breakfast.”
“I thought: ‘Okay, just try not to spin on the out lap’, because I hadn’t driven a car for a while and I was a bit worried. But luckily I went on track and I just started to brake later and later and that was good.”
Reflecting on his split from Toro Rosso and his time away from the race seat, he believes his time in a development role was “very important” after a rough time in the sport. Kvyat was demoted from Red Bull to Toro Rosso just four races into the 2016 season. He was then dropped entirely in the latter half of 2017.
He said “I felt like I needed the break after not so easy times. It was very nice in a way to spend some time at home, to just do training to clear your head and sometimes do nothing.”
Renault still wants answers on Racing Point’s legality
Renault’s F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul says that the manufacturer will continue to ask questions over the legality of the Racing Point RP20 because it could have larger implications for the incoming budget cap.
Racing Point has raised eyebrows when it launched this year’s car because of the similarity to last years Mercedes. The team insists the design purely based on its own interpretation of the Mercedes design because it uses a number of its components already.
However, rival teams were quick to argue that it was against the spirit of the regulations for what it means to be a constructor. This debate will be brought into focus next year when the budget cap is brought in, Abiteboul believes that it would be hard to monitor this under the cap.
He told F1.com, “The meetings have been focused on short term survival and medium and long term sustainability of the sport, which is exactly what needs to happen.”
“It’s important we side-line the most contentious topics we had over the winter. I’m sure these topics will come back as they are directly connected to the business model of F1.”
“It’s all good and nice to agree on the budget cap level but if you can pool your resources, pool your research and development between the teams, it means the levels of budget cap we are talking about are not exactly the ones we are talking about so to a certain degree we’re talking about that.”
Abiteboul says that he wasn’t talking directly about Racing Point, it was more about what it means to be a constructor. The French manufacturer could lose out if the model that some of the midfield teams are going down.
Renault is set to lose out as it operates on a smaller budget compared to other works teams, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. It competes with Racing Point and McLaren, for at least fourth in the standings, Abiteboul is calling for more clarity of what is or isn’t permitted.
“We will be thinking and talking about Racing Point legality later. By saying that, I’m not putting any threat, I’m just saying that we need to think about a bit more strategically in the current circumstance.”
F1 needs to aim for IndyCar unpredictably
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says Formula One should aim to become as competitive as IndyCar with more surprise results and shock winners in the future.
The 2022 regulation changes are designed to reduce the performance gaps between teams under the new technical regulations starting in 2022, aided by a budget cap that will come into force next year. Since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, only Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull have taken victories.
Speaking to Motorsport.com for the #thinkingforward series of interviews, McLaren boss Brown said he wanted to see F1 reach IndyCar’s level of competitiveness, giving more chance to the midfield teams to score podiums and race wins.
He said, “I think the on-track product of IndyCar is where we want to see Formula 1 from a competition standpoint. Not from a technical specification – don’t get me wrong Formula 1’s Formula 1, IndyCar is IndyCar.”
“But then drivers, if you want to call it ’10 to 15′ one of those guys, is going to sneak in a win two or three times a year. That never happens in Formula One. I can’t remember the last time there was a surprise winner of a Grand Prix.”
Brown says that if they manage to get the competition closer it must not lead to total chaos, for example, bad pit stop, or a difficult race rather than utter carnage to deliver surprise winners.
The next set of regulations due to now be introduced in 2022 are designed to close the gap between the top teams and midfield, will not be delayed any further and they were required to help even out the competitive order, as well as making racing more sustainable.
Brawn told Sky Sports, “A good midfield team should be able to score podiums, maybe a win, and it should make a small profit. If we can achieve that, then we’ve got a very sustainable future.”