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Formula 1

F1 teams vote to move summer shutdown

by Matt Beer
2 min read

The FIA has approved a plan to bring forward Formula 1’s summer shutdown period and extend it from 14 to 21 days.

As The Race previously reported, the proposal was made following the cancellation of at least the first four races of the F1 season.

Teams must now serve the three-week shutdown by the end of April, which will free up August for rescheduled races should the coronavirus pandemic allow racing to restart before then.

The change of shutdown period was approved in an electronic vote of the FIA World Motor Sport Council today (Wednesday).

An FIA statement said: “In light of the global impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus currently affecting the organisation 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.

“All competitors must therefore observe a shutdown period of 21 consecutive days during the months of March and/or April.

“The change was supported unanimously by both the F1 Strategy Group and F1 Commission.”

The Dutch Grand Prix, scheduled for May 3, and the Spanish race that follows a week later have yet to be officially cancelled, although F1 has previously indicated the earliest the season could restart would be at the end of May.

Monaco Grand Prix organisers have stressed that their race, scheduled for May 24, has not yet been called off although the suggestion after the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix was that the season would not restart before Baku in early June.

A subsequent statement from F1 released on Tuesday stated that there was no certainty on when the season would restart given the uncertain global situation.

Red Bull intends to start its shutdown on March 27 but says there may be “some flexibility around these dates” because of the fluid situation.

The team added it would “support any further race postponements that are deemed necessary” to reduce the risk of transmitting the disease.

It said it is taking “every possible precaution to mitigate the spread of the virus” and will be taking “extra precautions” as a team to protect its factory staff.

This includes “implementing special working measures, guided by the UK Government and medical professionals”.

American outfit Haas says it will observe its shutdown from March 19 to April 8, with Ferrari’s beginning on the same date – whereas Alfa Romeo will kick off its mandatory break period on March 23.

Meanwhile, Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri has confirmed to The Race that there have been no tests or positive cases of coronavirus among its personnel since returning to Italy.

As is mandated by the Italian government during the country’s lockdown, the team members are being subjected to 14 days in isolation.

AlphaTauri has followed Ferrari’s leading in shutting its production facility at Faenza but the factory remains open and the technical department is still working, with some operating from home.

The isolation procedures for each team prior to the shutdown period commencing is available here.

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