By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
For the first time since 1954, Formula One’s most iconic race known as the Monaco Grand Prix won’t happen as it’s one of now three additional grand prix weekends impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FIA announced Thursday that along with Monaco, both the Dutch and Spanish Grand Prix won’t happen on its scheduled date. It’s now seven races impacted by the health crisis, joining the Australian, Bahrain, Chinese and Vietnamese Grand Prix.
Five of the seven grand prix events are listed as postponed while both Monaco and Australia are officially cancelled. The Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) released a statement that under no circumstances they could schedule the race in Monte Carlo at a later time.
“The current situation concerning the worldwide pandemic and its unknown path of evolution, the lack of understanding as to the impact on the FIA F1 World Championship 2020,” the ACM said. “The uncertainty with regards to the participation of the teams, the consequences with regards to the differing measures of confinement as taken by various governments worldwide, the multi-border restrictions for accessing the Principality of Monaco, the pressure on all implicated businesses, their dedicated staff who are unable to undertake the necessary installations, the availability of the indispensable workforce and volunteers (more than 1500) required for the success of the event means that the situation is no longer tenable.”
A statement was also issued by the FIA regarding their continuation of putting health and safety first as they’ll continue to monitor the situation as they hope to open off their season at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku June 7.
“Due to the ongoing and fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation globally, the FIA, Formula 1 and the three promoters have taken these decisions in order to ensure the health and safety of the travelling staff, championship participants and fans, which remains our primary concern.
“The FIA and Formula 1 continue to work closely with affected promoters and local authorities to monitor the situation and take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates for each Grand Prix later in the year should the situation improve.”
Consequently, the health crisis was too much for Formula One to bear that the much anticipated 2021 technical regulations will now be pushed back a year as all 10 teams agreed on the decision.
However, the financial sides known as salary caps will still be implemented in 2021 as further discussions are ongoing between the FIA, Formula One and its teams as far as making cost savings feasible.
“All parties further discussed the current situation of the 2020 championship and how the sport will react to the ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the FIA said in a statement. “Due to the currently volatile financial situation this has created, it has been agreed that teams will use their 2020 chassis for 2021, with the potential freezing of further components to be discussed in due course.”
With the lights still red, what does the crisis mean for the F1 paddock?
The FIA made the decision Wednesday that they’ve moved the shutdown period that occurs during the summer months of July and August to now March and April, and extended the period from 14 to 21 days. Therefore, everyone must oblige on the changes as it was unanimously approved by the F1 Strategy Group and F1 Commission.
Motorsports Tribune will continue to provide updates regarding events impacted by COVID-19 as it becomes officially available.
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