Thursday, October 29, 2020

COVID-19: French GP tenth to be called off

The French GP has, as expected, become the tenth grand prix of the season to be postponed or cancelled.

Since French President Emmanuel Macron announced an extension of restrictions on public gatherings last week, this move had been pretty much inevitable.

The event organisers at the Circuit Paul Ricard say they are in talks with the government about potentially holding a French GP event behind closed doors.

Currently, the bosses at F1 have a plan in the works that would see the Austrian GP take place as initially scheduled on the weekend of July 5.

Then, a week later, there would be a second race at the Red Bull Ring. Austria is one of the first countries in Europe to relax lockdown measures and, as such, presents a viable option for the first race.

Following the two races in Austria, there’d be two back-to-back races at Silverstone, which is a mere stones throw from the operating base of seven of F1’s ten teams in the UK.

French organisers say they have turned their attention towards the 2021 event, but BBC Sport’s Chief F1 Writer Andrew Benson reports that the French GP is one of a number races earmarked to go ahead after the Austrian and British races.

As mentioned, the first four races at the very least would be held behind closed doors and, to be honest, the French GP and all other races will also likely be under the same restrictions.

Silverstone said in a statement: “We are unable to stage this year’s British Grand Prix in front of the fans at Silverstone.

“We have left this difficult decision for as long as possible, but it is abundantly clear given the current conditions in the country and the Government requirements in place now and for the foreseeable future, that a Grand Prix under normal conditions is just not going to be possible.

“We have consistently said that should we find ourselves in this position we will support Formula 1 as they seek to find alternative ways to enable F1 racing to take place this year.

“Following this weekend’s news from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, we are now working with them on the viability of an event behind closed doors.”

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