Welcome to our second weekly news roundup from the world of Formula One as teams remain in limbo ahead of the new season, with a fresh delay amongst our top stories.
From another race postponement to positive news for McLaren and Haas’ announcement on reserve and test driver lineup, it’s been another busy week in F1 so here’s the important gossip all rounded up in one place.
It has been announced that this season’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku has been postponed due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic gripping Europe, meaning that Formula Two’s trip is also delayed until further notice.
Baku City Circuit (BCC) released a short statement in which they said that they ‘shares its fans disappointment at not being able to experience the pinnacle of motorsport race through the streets of Baku this June.’
BCC has also confirmed that they are monitoring the current situation alongside the F1, FIA and Government of Azerbaijan Republic, whilst all tickets will be valid if and when the race is rearranged.
F1 Committed to 2020 SeasonEmbed from Getty Images
F1 CEO, Chase Carey has reiterated in a statement that this season will get underway when ‘ready to go racing again’ as part of a commitment to have a World Championship in 2020.
Carey refused to rule out further suspensions of scheduled races, saying; “We recognise there is significant potential for additional postponements in currently scheduled events, nonetheless we and our partners fully expect the season to start at some point this summer, with a revised calendar of 15-18 races.”
This pandemic however remains a fluid situation with intention to reschedule some postponed races for during August, when teams should of had a fortnight break which has been brought forward to April.
It is also thought that the season is expected to be extended beyond it’s original finish date of 29 November, marking the second consecutive season since in which F1 has had a December finish after last year’s Abu Dhabi GP was held on 1 December.
McLaren Safely Return Home
McLaren have confirmed that it’s entire team is now back home after several members of the team had remained in Melbourne in quarantine, following a positive test of one team member for Coronavirus.
In an exclusive interview with McLaren.com earlier this week, Andreas Seidl confirmed that some senior team members had remained Down Under to support those who were in self isolation alongside the member who tested positive.
All McLaren personnel were however back in the UK by Wednesday evening as the team prepare to assist in the battle against Coronavirus as part of F1’s newest project which you can read about below.
F1 has launched ‘Project Pitlane’ which involves the seven UK based F1 teams (Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, Racing Point, Haas and Williams) will see respiratory devices produced to help support those battling Coronavirus in hospitals around the UK.
This project will involve three work streams from reverse engineering of existing medical devices, to supporting in scaling the production of existing ventilator designs, to rapid design and prototype manufacture of a new device for certification and subsequent production.
Project Pitlane will see the seven teams all pool their resources and capabilities whilst focusing on the core skills of F1; rapid design, prototype manufacture, test and skilled assembly.
Teams will also be ready to assist in other areas requiring rapidly innovative technological response as and when required to do so during this pandemic.
Haas Retain Reserve and Test Lineup
Haas has confirmed that they have retained last season’s Test and Reserve Driver lineup of Pietro Fittipaldi and Louis Deletraz.
Both drivers will assist Haas in simulator and trackside when the F1 season commences following a Coronavirus enforced delay,
Deletraz will continue in Formula Two as he returns to Charouz Racing of whom he raced for in 2018, whilst Fittipaldi is currently without a junior race seat after ‘conflicting sponsors’ interests’ saw him withdraw from Super Formula earlier this month.
Haas Team Principal; Guenther Steiner is delighted to confirm the news which was initially meant to of been announced in Melbourne, saying; Pietro (Fittipaldi) and Louis (Deletraz) have both proven themselves to us over the past 12 months and we’re delighted to confirm them both as official test and reserve drivers for Haas F1 Team.
“Their work in the simulator was undoubtedly of value as we faced our challenges last season and we’re excited to continue to present them with further opportunities to expand their relationship with the team in 2020 when we can return to work.”
How Best to Not Take Advice Ahead of a Virtual Grand Prix
F1 held a virtual Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday featuring celebrities, eSport stars and some current plus ex drivers, although Lando Norris stole the show with his pre race advice gathering as he prepared to start from the back of the grid after his game quit in Qualifying.
Luckily he ignored the advice given from various people including Max Verstappen and George Russell as he eventually came home in fifth, in a race won by Renault junior – Guanyu Zhou.
Take a watch because this is the perfect weekend laugh as we #StayHomeSaveLives.
If want full highlights of the Virtual Bahrain GP then here it is for you to watch below.