Apr.22 (GMM) Drivers are looking nervously into the clouded future of Formula 1 and motor racing.
The coronavirus pandemic, and the ensuing lockdowns and political and economic turmoil, means that despite efforts to organise an alternative 2020 race calendar, no one is actually sure when the racing will resume.
“If we don’t get this situation under control worldwide, it would be understandable that we don’t have any races at all,” McLaren driver Carlos Sainz said.
“But I have to say that this would be very difficult for me to accept. I would be grateful for a couple of races, but right now I prefer not to think about anything else.
“This is not about car racing. It’s about a lot of jobs.”
The Spaniard acknowledged that it is possible Formula 1 will find a way to stage races amid the pandemic.
“I think it’s conceivable that we might have ten races, or let’s say between 8 and 14. Two on the same track, ghost races, two-day events, I see it all possible. It will be a completely different Formula 1,” Sainz said.
Formula E driver and Red Bull tester Sebastien Buemi is also not willing to predict when racing will be possible again.
“I hope it could be the end of July or August, but you can’t know,” he told Blick newspaper.
“I don’t even know if we can catch a plane again soon.”
Finally, Alpha Tauri driver Pierre Gasly said that while he is “an optimistic and positive person”, health concerns must take precedence over sport at present.
“I can’t wait for it to resume, but above all it’s a question of security for all the people who work in the industry and travel,” he told the French newspaper Nosges Matin.
“We must not put anyone in danger and that is what will make the difference,” said Gasly.
“All the drivers want to go to the track and race but there are other problems to be solved today.
“The next grand prix is potentially France, but that looks a bit difficult. We are also talking about Austria and I hope it’s doable.”
If it is ‘doable’, Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko has warned that it will have to occur without spectators and with a range of safety measures in place.
“If that is the safest solution for everyone and it allows us to resume the championship earlier, I think it must clearly be done,” Gasly said of the prospect of ‘ghost races’.
“But it’s going to be weird.”