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Teams agree to adhere to March/April shutdown

3d ago

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Over the past few weeks, F1 has seen major changes as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. These modifications include the cancellation or postponement of the opening seven rounds, which is a pro-active decision after Australian GP debacle.

Given that the involved parties intend to maintain a schedule with the maximum amount of races, as well as maintain a fair environment for the teams who are unable to work, F1 and the FIA brought the summer break forward to March/April and extended it to 21 days.

Given that a shutdown of this sort requires F1 teams to halt all car/race-related work, this decision carries serious weight. However, understanding the necessity of the call, most outfits have agreed to implement the closure:

Ferrari: “Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow, whose staff, along with millions of people in Italy and around the world, is having to deal with the Covid-19 virus pandemic, fully supports the FIA and Formula 1’s decision to bring forward the usual summer shutdown.

“Scuderia Ferrari will therefore be shut as from tomorrow, Thursday 19 March, up to Thursday 8 April inclusive. The priority for the team has always been the safety of its employees and their families, which is why, for several days now work in the Maranello facility has been suspended, replaced where possible by a smart working system.

“We are just as disappointed as our fans that we cannot be racing, as we have done for over 70 years, but when confronted by a situation as serious as this one, it is vital that we follow the advice of the authorities and limit all activities as much as possible in order to contain the virus as efficiently as possible.

“We will wait for the situation to improve so that we can return to normality, in our daily lives as well as in sport, including motor racing. In the meantime, our thoughts are with everyone affected by the virus and those working on the front line to combat it. Maintaining our distance, but still united, this virus can be defeated.”

Red Bull Racing: “In light of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing is in support of the decision taken by Formula One and the FIA to bring forward the annual shutdown from August to March / April 2020 and extend it to 21 days.

“As a Team we currently plan to shutdown on 27th March for a three week period, however due to the ever changing nature of the pandemic there may be some flexibility around these dates. Whilst we would all love to return to racing, the severity of this global pandemic is changing by the hour and the impact transcends our sport.

“We therefore agree with the measures being taken to reduce the risk of transmission and will support any further race postponements that are deemed necessary. The health, safety and wellbeing of our Team, guests, fans and the local communities we visit are our absolute priority and we are taking every possible precaution to mitigate the spread of the virus.

“As such, we will also be taking extra precautions as a Team to protect our workforce while they are in the factory by implementing special working measures, guided by the UK Government and medical professionals.

“We share the disappointment of our fans and partners that purchased tickets to attend this year’s postponed Grands Prix and our well wishes go to our McLaren and Pirelli colleagues recovering from the COVID-19 virus, as well as the McLaren team members currently quarantined in Australia.”

Alfa Romeo Racing: “As part of our sport’s concerted effort to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN will therefore observe a shutdown period of 21 consecutive days between March 23rd and April 13th, 2020.”

Haas: “Following Wednesday’s World Motor Sports Council’s approved change to the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations governing the mandatory summer shutdown dates – moving the period to be taken from July and August and bringing it forward to March and April, Haas F1 team will observe a 21-day shutdown period from Thursday March 19th to Wednesday 8th April 2020.”

Renault: “Renault Sport Racing has taken appropriate decisions given the urgency of the current situation, while anticipating an extended shutdown followed by an intense season once the situation is under control.

“Our decisions must also be consistent with French and English government advice, the policy of Groupe Renault, but also that of F1 authorities. The first of these decisions was to support McLaren’s decision not to participate in the Australian Grand Prix following a positive test in the paddock, then to quickly repatriate our track teams present in Melbourne.

“We subsequently asked them not to not return to Enstone or Viry-Chatillon for a minimum period of 14 days. Working from home has been widespread for all employees able to do so at Viry-Chatillon. Following measures taken by the French Government and implemented from Monday evening in France, Renault Sport Racing’s management has also decided to close Viry-Chatillon from the evening of Friday 20 March until Sunday 5 April inclusive.

“Working at home has been progressively implemented at Enstone and will be mandatory for all employees able to do so from Monday 23 March. In view of the escalating situation in Europe and after discussions between Formula 1 teams, F1 and the FIA, it was decided that the summer shutdown would be brought forward and extended by one week. It is in this context that we are currently planning the closure of the Enstone site from Monday 30 March until Sunday 19 April inclusive.

“These initial measures taken at Enstone and Viry-Chatillon will be reviewed and adapted in view of the situation’s evolution. We will now enter into a phase of in-depth discussions with F1, the FIA and the other teams to define and put in place measures that our sport will have to take in these exceptional circumstances. In the face of the coming challenges, responsibility and solidarity must prevail to reduce the impact of this health crisis.”

While the above F1 teams have confirmed their action process, Mercedes mentioned about factory shutdown but did not mention the dates. The likes of Williams, McLaren, Racing Point and AlphaTauri have not yet revealed their dates either.

[This story was written by me for FormulaRapida, and edited by Darshan Chokhani]

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