As Coronavirus continues to play havoc with the 2020 Formula One season, welcome to our new weekly roundup of the latest news dominating the world of F1 until the season properly commences.
From race cancellations to latest driver activity, we will have a full roundup of the biggest stories affecting F1 in the past week for you to enjoy.
Dutch and Spanish Grands Prix Postponed
It has been announced that the Dutch and Spanish Grands Prix which were scheduled to be held on weekends of 1-3 and 8-10 May respectively, have both been postponed.
Spanish GP organisers have already moved to confirm that tickets will still be valid for the rearranged dates, with spectators ‘informed accordingly about the available options’ regarding their tickets once the race weekend is rescheduled.
Circuit Zandvoort meanwhile have confirmed that tickets will remain valid for the Dutch GP, although refund policies won’t be finalised until a new date has been set by Formula One Management and the FIA.
Both events therefore are yet to be rescheduled alongside Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam and Chinese GP later in the season, with the summer shutdown now moved to take place next month to allow rescheduled races to be held in August.
Monaco Grand Prix Cancelled
This year’s Monaco Grand Prix however is the first race to be officially cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, marking the first time since 1954 that F1 won’t race in Monaco.
The biennial Historic Grand Prix De Monaco event has also consequently been cancelled, with the Automobile Club de Monaco releasing a short statement saying; “To all the fans, spectators, partners and our members, the Board of Directors wishes to express its sincere regrets that these two events cannot be postponed and under no circumstances, will it be possible to organize these events later this year.”
2021 Regulation Changes Delayed to 2022
Race cancellations and postponements has forced teams and the FIA to agree to delay next season’s major technical regulations until 2022.
The decision to postpone one of F1’s biggest regulation shakeups comes as a direct result of coronavirus delaying the start of this season, which is set to mean less financial income for teams due to fewer races this year.
F1 has also confirmed that technical rules for this season will also apply to 2021 as will the current chassis, although further components could be frozen in future discussions.
Speaking about this decision, the FIA said; “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.”
Teams however will still be adhering to new financial regulations from next season, of which teams, F1 and the FIA remain in discussion over how to make further ‘significant cost savings.’
McLaren meanwhile will switch from Renault to Mercedes power units as planned next season despite the delay of new technical regulations.
Teams Aim to Build Ventilators
UK based F1 teams are set to switch focus to building much needed ventilators for British hospitals, as the NHS struggles to cope with the worsening coronavirus crisis that is engulfing the country.
Discussions between teams, F1 and the UK government plus further organisations are currently taking place as to how teams, engine manufactures and their technology departments can support the production of respiratory medical devices for use in hospitals.
These discussions comes as the number of UK based coronavirus cases continues to rise, amidst various lockdown measures being put in place which includes the closure of the Silverstone Experience.
Drivers Embracing Coronavirus Shutdown
Gutted to not be qualifying today. I decided to stick around Melbourne and go indoor rock climbing. It’s a great way for me to keep focused.
I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who have been sending me such positive messages. Hope you are all staying safe. 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/aj4CvgF4sV
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) March 14, 2020
This season’s drivers are all embracing the coronavirus enforced shutdown in many different ways, so here is a selection of the best antics that some of the drivers have gotten up to in the past week.
Romain Grosjean has participated in the hand washing challenge, passing the challenge onto various other athletes plus FIA President – Jean Todt.
I’m happy to take the @WHO #SafeHands challenge passed by @DrTedros for protecting health and beating #COVID19
Hand hygiene is key to protect all of us against #coronavirus.
To take the challenge pic.twitter.com/vkobFiqKDB
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) March 15, 2020
Other drivers like Lando Norris and Max Verstappen meanwhile are embracing the world of sim racing whilst stuck indoors, competing against eSport drivers and celebrities like Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois.
— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) March 21, 2020
Charles Leclerc meanwhile made the most of his free time in Melbourne last weekend as he attempted surfing, whilst Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz respectively hit the rock climbing walls and gym.
Today was more about swimming than surfing but it was very fun ! 😅 By the way don’t zoom on my face on the 1st pic, thank you 🤓😂 pic.twitter.com/lOjvixP3nA
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) March 14, 2020