Racing the Coronavirus: Don't lose hope!
My message to everyone missing our crazy world of motorsport.
Out there across the world right now there is thousands of fans of Formula 1, WRC, BTCC etc. who have been affected by the postponements and cancellations of recent and upcoming events, and unfortunately today I am writing because I have become a part of the ever growing list. I found out today that Formula 1's Spanish Grand Prix, due to take place between the 7th and the 10th of May, will be postponed until future notice, which essentially put mine and my girlfriend's week away to Spain essentially down the toilet.
I cannot hide my complete disappointment at the decision, but I am trying to find solace in the fact that this was done by Formula 1 and respective parties involved, purely on the grounds of safety and good intentions as the world tries to bond together to fight the deadly outbreak of the COVID-19 outbreak, better known as the Coronavirus. As I have said, I have joined the seemingly endless list of fans disappointed by the cancellation of recent events so I decided to write this to ask you all, please do not lose hope in our motorsport community.
A bit about my story, first of all. Since 2018, I have made the trip to the beautiful city of Barcelona where, just outside the city lies the amazing Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, host to the Spanish Grand Prix since 1991. It may not be the best circuit on the calendar, but it is one hell of a circuit to visit to see the Formula 1 circus blast around. I have nothing but good memories of the circuit and Barcelona itself is truly a city I have absolutely fallen in love with. Last year, was my first Grand Prix with my girlfriend in attendance, and she also enjoyed the spectacle of an F1 Grand Prix in person, so we were very excited to receive out tickets a few weeks ago to attend the race once again.
Now, however, with my girlfriend's current working arrangements, it seems highly unlikely that we will get to attend the race together when the new date is announced, which leaves me with a choice. Do I just leave the tickets that we spent a combined €600 on for the weekend (we decided to go all out this year and got grandstand tickets for the first corner), or simply try to go myself with someone else or potentially even on my own? It's a very tough position to be in, and I know due to talking to recent friends and fellow fans across the web that my position is nothing compared to some of the losses incurred by fans due to the cancellation of recent events.
Myself at last year's Spanish Grand Prix.
I am sure that the right answer will come, but as of now that worry is of no value due to the threat we find ourselves in with the coronavirus outbreak. It is far more important that this deadly virus is contained and eradicated as soon as possible not only for the safety of us, but for the world over. We have never experienced something like this before, and personally it is fairly daunting to see places closing down, shops only allowing a certain amount of people in at a time, and just the general reaction to this outbreak. If there was ever a time the world needed to pull together regardless of country, nation or race, it's now.
Obviously a lot more than just the race has been affected, with Formula 1 announcing postponements of the Dutch and Monaco rounds as well as the rounds already scheduled for postponement last week, with the Automobile Club de Monaco announcing that the Grand Prix was not only postponed, but cancelled for 2020. Formula E is on a suspension until the end of June, BTCC and MotoGP have suffered postponements as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which has been moved from June to September, and that's not going into detail what other sports such as Soccer, Rugby and the likes are currently facing. It is truly a tough time for all sport lovers.
There is however somewhat of a light at the end of the tunnel for us, as we have shifted our original plans of a week's holiday in Barcelona to July (coronavirus pending of course), while for the race itself, I will make a decision on that when the time is right. To all you fans out there, we have a great community within the world of motor sport. It's almost a family of sorts and a family of mostly strangers I wouldn't change for the world.
When we lose one of our own through tragedy or an accident we pull together, when something is not right we speak up and fight together and most of all, we enjoy this sport together. I am lucky to have experienced the friendliness and decency of fans myself at the races I have attended, and I wouldn't change it for the world. Like everything that has gone before us, we can pull together with this and come out stronger. For those of you who know me, or even read my articles, knows by now that motorsport, particularly F1, is what I live and die by. It's what keeps me going on the bad days, and what excites me and motivates me on the good ones. I am keeping the faith that the cancellations are in the interests of fans, drivers and everyone involved and it's something that needs to be done.
The motorsport spectrum as a whole has been affected by the outbreak with COVID-19, with the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans another example of an event facing postponement until further on in the year. (FIA.)
So, please do not lose hope. We can pull together through this and when the coronavirus is all said and done, then we can stand together and enjoy what is honestly shaping up to be an absolute treat of motorsport in the second half of the year, I promise you it will be worth it. To those that have lost out on the postponements I hope that by sharing my story it can help you through your losses be it financial or however, and just remember that it will not hopefully before too long when we get to join each other see our favourite drivers and cars out on track once again.
I would like to take this moment to give my best wishes to the people of Italy, Spain and all the countries currently experiencing the virus and I hope nothing but good recovery and health comes your way. It's a scary time for us all, but like always, we will stand together and come out of the other side for the better.