Brawn optimistic fans can return before
Ross Brawn is optimistic Formula One could welcome fans back to races towards the end of the European season but said the sport would not rush making a decision.
The season will finally get underway finally in Austria on the weekend of 03 – 05 July after a four-month delay because of the coronavirus pandemic. The opening eight races will take place behind closed doors, but the hope is to
Speaking at the FIA Annual Conference, which is being held virtually, the motorsport and technical managing director was cautiously optimistic about the possibility of fans attending races later in the 2020 season.
Brawn said “We won’t rush that. I think some of the later European races are optimistic, but I think we would rather not plan on that. I think when we go to the flyaway races, we can start to hope that we will have fans, but even that’s not absolutely guaranteed.”
“I think to have the race in a safe and secure environment is critical. We’re going around the world, we can’t have a problem in one country that stops us from going to other countries. We’ll progress slowly on that front.
“The fans for us are critical. We do want to see them as they do add a lot of atmosphere. I think we’ll take that very gradually. We don’t want to jump in and then have to jump out again when we find a problem.”
F1 remains hopeful of staging up to eighteen races in 2020, with further updates to the calendar expected in the coming weeks. He says that the sport will be looking at ways of keeping the fans engaged if they are not able to attend races.
Saying “We felt going racing and broadcasting racing and engaging the fans with racing in what ways we could was still much more desirable than doing nothing.”
Bottas “going all out” for a maiden title
Valtteri Bottas says he is “very confident” and is “going to go all out” for a first Formula One title in 2020, admitting he’s got new additions to his “driving toolbox” in a bid to defeat Lewis Hamilton.
The Finn is going into his fourth season alongside Hamilton at Mercedes and so far has come up short in his fight against the sport’s six-time champion. While he looks for his first title building on second place last season, Bottas will also want to retain his seat at Mercedes.
Bottas told Sky Sports, “I really feel that this extra time off, which was unexpected, was only good for me. It’s a rare time for a driver that you get so much time off and get to do different things and to really focus on yourself, improving yourself physically and mentally.”
“I’ve been able to drive a lot too, and some of the other drivers may have struggled to drive during the lockdown.” Last year Bottas said he has a secret plan to beat Hamilton, but dismissed comparisons to Mercedes predecessor Nico Rosberg, who also had three seasons as Hamilton’s team-mate before beating the Englishman to the title in his final year with the team.
He says this season is going to be about consistency, which he has been working on with his core engineering team, in terms of driving style as well as new tools in his box.
Adding “I could feel that in Barcelona testing, in a couple of corners I made a good steps and I’ve been focusing on that during the lockdown. I feel I’m more complete as a driver and also physically, I’m peaking now. I’m very confident, mentally in a good place, and I’m going to go all out, no doubt.”
Hamilton praises diversity push by F1
Lewis Hamilton has been praised for helping hasten Formula One’s push to become more diverse ahead of some “major announcements” in the coming weeks.
The six-times champion has been heavily involved in the recent activism against racial injustice, sparked by the murder of George Floyd in the United States last month. Hamilton, the only black driver in the sport has called out the sport for its lack of response to the Black Lives Matter movement, noting the lack of diversity within the sport.
F1 stated its support for the fight against racism, calling it “an evil that no sport or society is truly immune from”, while several Hamilton’s fellow drivers also issued messages condemning racial injustice.
Speaking at the FIA’s annual conference F1’s director of strategy and business development Yath Gangakumaran has now revealed the sport is planning some “pretty major announcements more broadly around diversity and inclusion” in the coming weeks and praised Hamilton’s recent influence.
He said, “I think any organisation or person who has millions of people following them has a duty in many ways to highlight any imperfections that are innate within their area.”
“I think what Lewis has done has really helped hasten some of the change we want to see within Formula 1. In a couple of weeks, you’ll start to hear more publicly about what we’re going to do. I think the days of sports stars being told to stick to their sports as it were are over.”
He cited the example set by Marcus Rashford on the British Governments u-turn on free school meals over the summer, and Raheem Sterling push for more ethnic minority representation on sports boards. Gangakumaran said that while F1 served primarily to entertain its fans, it had to be conscious of its wider purpose moving into the future.
Saying “I think ultimately if we go back to the first principles, the whole purpose around F1 initially is around entertaining fans, so we need to ensure we have that front and centre of everything we do.”
“What’s been really pleasing to see in the last several years, and particularly in this current coronavirus period, is wider societal purpose really coming to the fore.”
He says that this has been an example of what the sport can do to push sustainability and inclusion in F1, which has incredible technology and amazing engineers and scientists within F1.
F1 would have lost manufacturers over coronavirus – Brawn
F1’s motorsport and technical managing director Ross Brawn believes the sport would have lost manufacturers and teams as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The sport is expecting a financial hit and reduced revenue for F1 through 2020, with stakeholders held talks about making racing more sustainable in the future in recent months. That has resulted in next years budget cap being reduced from around roughly £150m to £120m from
As part of Motorsport.com’s series looking at F1 in the era of coronavirus and speaking at the FIA’s Annual Conference, Brawn said this change was crucial to maintaining manufacturer presence in the sport.
Saying, “This crisis gave us the opportunity that we knew the budget cap always would. Once you set a budget cap, you can always adjust it. Before this ever happened, we said that if we ever have a crisis in the future, we can adjust the budget cap to take account, and all accept that the ideal level changes.”
“I think without the ability for these teams to go back to their boards and manufacturers and say: ‘Look, Formula 1 is vital, and it’s going to cost less in the future’, I don’t think we would have retained the number of manufacturers or big teams that we have.”
Brawn says that as manufactures make adjustments because of the economic reality, it’s unjustifiable that unlimited spending can happen in F1. Last month the sport agreed to a package of cost-cutting measures.
Renault has already confirmed it will continue its F1 programme beyond 2020 despite widespread cost-saving measures throughout the wider company.
Ricciardo returns to the track
Daniel Ricciardo returned to the track with Renault on Tuesday completing a hundred and fifteen laps of the Red Bull Ring. The circuit will host the opening two races of the season, which has been delayed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The circuit will host the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5 and the Styrian Grand Prix on July 12 to start a season which has been delayed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ricciardo’s teammate Esteban Ocon will complete Renault’s private two-day test on Wednesday.
Renault posted a short video clip of Ricciardo driving away in an all-black 2018 car. The team will run a yellow and black livery for the 2020 season.
As with Mercedes, the test was designed to get used to the coronavirus protocols to stop the spread of any potential outbreak of the virus.
Ferrari, Alpha Tauri and Racing Point are expected to conduct tests of their own before the Austrian Grand Prix. Haas is one of the teams believed to have opted against running before the season starts.
F1 to introduce a contact tracing app
Formula One is to bring in a bespoke Track and Trace app to help the sport better deal with any outbreaks of coronavirus in paddocks. This is a result of the review of lessons from the Australian Grand Prix.
The event was effectively shut down in the wake of a single McLaren team member being tested positive, the FIA has been working on ways to better manage the situation in the future. As well as a new code of conduct, a new app has been developed for contact tracing, designed for
FIA safety director Adam Baker said that the governing body hoped the app would be a good step in preventing the need for shutting down an event if there is an isolated outbreak.
Speaking at the FIA’s Conference 2020, Baker said: “One of the key areas in holding a successful event, and learning the hard lessons from Melbourne, is in having precise contact tracing, and then having a rapid testing capability so we can accurately determine people who may have been affected.”
“Those people can then be quickly quarantined, and then they can be quickly tested, and released from quarantine if they’re found to be negative.”
The app is similar to the ones being rolled out by governments around the world, but the sport needs less accuracy needed for the general public is much less than required at sporting events.
Due to the intense nature of motor racing competition, where individuals are in regular contact with a lot of people in confined spaces, the FIA realised it would need something more technically sophisticated.
On Friday, the World Motor Sport Council are due to add an appendix to the International Sporting Code. The FIA has already issued a set of guidelines for race organisers around the world in how to deal with the coronavirus situation around the world when events get going again.
This has been primarily aimed at closed-circuit sprint events because some thought still needs to be given to rally and endurance events.
FIA homologates biometric underwear
Marelli and OMP Racing have received FIA homologation for a fire-retardant undershirt that features an integrated system for measuring the vital parameters of a driver.
The Vital Signs Monitor, VISM, is the result of a joint project between the two companies. It is the latest step in a move by racewear manufacturers to measure biometric data, which began with gloves.
The idea is to provide real-time measurement of vital signs, allowing a driver’s team to monitor stress and fatigue, via sensors that measure the heart rate and breathing.
The makers believe the shirt has three main applications; performance monitoring, data collection for training and safety features thanks to the constant monitoring of vital parameters in all the different situations encountered during racing.
Also, attention has been paid to ensuring confidentiality and privacy concerning the data collection.
Riccardo De Filippi, CEO of Marelli Motorsport, told Motorsport.com, “VISM is a tool for professional drivers to monitor biometric data. It is designed with a direct interface to the data acquisition and telemetry systems of a race car and includes end-to-end protection of sensitive data, giving the user full control of its use.”
“We believe this experience is a major step forward in the development of safety systems as well as active driver aids, for passenger cars too. The cooperation with Marelli is that kind of teamwork that makes you bless the moment you decided to pick up the phone and propose the project.”
Paolo Delprato, OMP Racing CEO, added. “It’s a mutual enrichment and it has produced a great device, which combines safety and performance.”