A move to bring Formula 1’s mandatory shutdown period forward and extend it by a week has been unanimously approved by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.
As reported by RACER yesterday, all 10 teams were keen to have the shutdown period earlier while there is no racing taking place, in order to reduce overheads and open up the possibility for races during August if the season can restart by then. Following discussions and a number of votes today, the plan has been approved unanimously by all teams and ratified by the WMSC.
“In light of the global impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus currently affecting the organization of FIA Formula One World Championship events, the World Motor Sport Council has approved a change to the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, moving the summer shutdown period from July and August to March and April and extending it from 14 to 21 days,” the FIA said in a statement.
“All competitors must therefore observe a shutdown period of 21 consecutive days during the months of March and/or April.”
Red Bull offered immediate support for the change, outlining its own plans to start its shutdown period at the end of next week.
“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.”
It is also understood that further talks are taking place regarding the 2021 regulations, when a major technical overhaul was due to be introduced. One such solution would be to delay their introduction by 12 months.