June 18, 2020 | News | No Comments
Formula 1 will take its time to usher fans back into the grandstands this year although Ross Brawn hopes to open the gates to spectators at the sport’s first flyaway races.
Grand Prix racing will launch its season in Austria on July 5, but under strict safety and hygiene measures that will include empty grandstands.
F1 has established an initial eight-race schedule in Europe over the summer, with all events closed to the public.
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But depending on the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic, globally and locally, the second half of the season could possibly allow for a return of the fans.
“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,” Brawn said in an interview at the FIA eConference.
“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.”
Formula 1’s chiefs have worked tirelessly with the FIA and race promoters to get the 2020 season off the ground. Holding closed events is costly to F1, but Brawn insist it’s also the only viable solution to salvaging the sport’s disrupted season.
“The situation is different throughout the world. I think the fact that we were prepared to accept closed races in the early part of the season gave us more opportunity,” Brawn said.
“That’s not the ideal, it’s not the ideal for any sport, because the fans are such a crucial part of it. But 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.
“Approaching closed fans events gave us the bulk of the European season. Of course we can adjust that as we progress and we come to understand where we are with this pandemic.
“Our first half of the season is European-based. We’re still pretty fluid on the second half.
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“I think we’re confident we’re going to finish in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, but we’re filling in the spaces in-between.”
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