Paddock, Suzuka, 2019

F1 races can go ahead ‘even if 10 people catch Covid-19’

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In the round-up: FIA institute president Gerard Saillant says F1 need not call off races when it returns even if multiple paddock members test positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus.

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Comment of the day

Will those drivers who’ve ‘stayed sharp’ simracing have an advantage when the season resumes?

Drivers like Norris or Leclerc who keep themselves occupied and fully concentrated on iRacing might have a slight advantage over the others. Although I really doubt that all the other drivers don’t keep themselves in a perfect form and won’t be 100% ready to jump on the train once the season begins. The venues and overhauled format of the calendar might have far bigger impact on the individual chances.
@Pironitheprovocateur

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On this day in F1

David Coulthard, McLaren, Nurburgring, 2000
David Coulthard, McLaren, Nurburgring, 2000
  • 20 years ago today David Coulthard put his McLaren on pole position for the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring

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  • 30 comments on “F1 races can go ahead ‘even if 10 people catch Covid-19’”

    1. Re: COTD. You’d think that those involved in sim racing would stay sharp, but given that most seem to be using cheats on chicanes, bumping others off the track and crashing/spinning pretty regularly, it might turn out that they’ve had general carelessness imprinted on their brains.

      Certainly if the behaviour of some was mirrored in real life we’d be seeing the stewards working well into the night.

      1. From remarks made both by Norris and Leclerc, they clearly distinguish between what is possible / effective in simracing, games and what works in the real world @dbradock

        1. @bascb McLaren also said last year that they had to “unteach” Norris about those sim tricks. Knowing the difference is only part of the equation, the driver also need to do the proper one and don’t always have much time to think. It will depend on which one comes naturally.

          1. After playing a sim racing game I notice that I (have the urge to) drive just a tad faster and more aggressively in my real car. It takes me 5 minutes or so to get back into my natural flow.

          2. Sure, so what makes you think that Norris hasn’t kept those lessons nicely lodged in his head @jeanrien? If you listen to some of the interviews about for example the IndyCar races, he clearly distinguishes between moves that work on the sim/iracing and things that work in real life, since the cars and tracks behave slightly different.

            I am sure that it will take “pushing a button” and maybe a lap or two to get back in that flow – like @coldfly mentions he also has from the transition to real life driving, but let’s not forget the guy has a whole year of F1 experience now.

            1. I am not arguing about his head but what his hands and feet are doing like automatically.

              By driving a real car or a sim, you also develop some automatic response and you don’t have to think to do. Then you can realize that you didn’t do as you wanted but it’s too late… I am pretty sure Norris will quickly revert to his F1 driving, but I am as convinced that he will have some sim impulses at the beginning.

              It’s like riding bike with inverse steering, you know how to do, it’s not difficult to learn, but it’s not easy to revert to riding a regular bike afterwards as you got used to do things differently (but it doesn’t take much time either).

        2. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t retain some muscle memory from their sim work or have a brain fart early on. It just means that they recognise there’s a difference as would most people.

    2. If the British Government don’t play ball in allowing a quarantine exemption for arrivals, could we see the following scenario play out?
      Sun 5th July: Austrian GP #1
      Thu 9th July: Austrian GP #2 (2 day event, 6pm start – should be sufficient daylight hours to fit in the race)
      Thu 16th July: German GP #1 (1 week gap to allow teams to travel and set up in Hockenheim. Also a 6pm start)
      Sun 19th July: German GP #2 (2 day event)
      Then everyone goes back to base for 3 weeks, with the next event taking place on the weekend of 8/9 Aug. You could then repeat the above Austria/Germany scenario 2 or 3 times to ensure at least 8-10 races can be completed in Europe by early-mid Sep.

      1. @Matt Not really. It’d probably just be 5/12 for Red Bull Ring and either 19/26 for Hockenheim or 26.7/2.8 followed by Hungaroring on 9.8 in either scenario. Not worth dismissing a possible change of mind, though.

        1. In that case the British based staff would have to be out of the UK for over a month as each time they go back they need at least 2 weeks there, (realistically 2 and a half weeks minimum) before heading off for the next race.

      2. It’s more complicated than finding a 2 week slot between races, Matt. The staff returning to the UK cannot go to the factory, and it will be emotionally challenging (living 3+ weeks in a travelling bubble and then coming home to be treated like a pariah).
        If the UK were to keep the 2 week quarantine rules from July, then F1 is much more likely to become a travelling circus like Cirque du Soleil.

        1. So complicated in fact that even though the FIA and FOM are extremely cavalier about how they think they can run races and even run them if they have cases of Coronavirus within their “biosphere” a lot of governments are likely to just give them a firm “No”.

          I’ve no doubt that some racing “might” be possible later in the year but not on the basis of special agreements when theres a whole myriad of other sports (EPL etc) that have yet to work through a process that will allow them to restart. If a “local” competition can’t get going behind closed doors, how does F1 expect governments to agree to international sporting events?

          1. @dbradock I couldn’t agree more. As much as I hope and want F1-racing to return ASAP, the same rules have to apply to everyone for the sake of fairness.

            1. Agree, @jerejj. But F1 is a multi-billion dollar game of technical loopholes.

    3. All sports fans should watch latest episode of Last week tonight with John Oliver where talked about logistics of holding bubble league.

    4. How could one race have a date (even a ‘provisional’ one) earlier than any other potential 2021-race? Realistically, that’s going to happen at the same time as the rest.

      Wouldn’t the British GP be able to go ahead even if it were to the first race, though? I.e., swap it and Red Bull Ring like one user suggested here yesterday: https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/silverstone-british-gp-government-quarantine/4793934/

      1. @jerejj Monaco can because it’s the same weekend every year, and relies on retaining the same weekend every year for planning purposes (as we discovered a few weeks ago).

        1. @alianora-la-canta But it hasn’t always been the same, so don’t take things ‘fully’ for granted.

          1. @alianora-la-canta The same part of the month I mean.

    5. Wow, I never thought about zandvoort backwards, that was great, some corners suddenly became really interesting.

      1. Yes, that was trilling indeed and easy todo in real just moving some rail.

        1. I disagree. I noticed a bunch of dangerous spots.

    6. What is up with the FIA? F1 moves around the world with a huge number of people from across the globe mixing together. Should anyone involved in F1 get the virus, it will be seen as a possible vector in the transmission across continents. Governments and the media will rip F1 apart.

      Mainstream media will have already picked up on Gerard Saillant’s comments. They will be waiting to bury him if there’s only one virus victim associated with motorsport. As they will with any other sport they decide isn’t acting responsibly.

      1. I can agree that this is how it would likely be seen. But in reality, there’s essentially no difference. The virus is already active and prevalent in essentially every country in the world right now. Especially European countries. There are hundreds of thousands of people who actively have the virus already. A few more people travelling, at ths point, essentially does nothing to change the numbers in any significant way.

        It would have been a different scenario at the start of the season where there still seemed to be a realistic prospect of some countries preventing the virus from gaining a foothold. Obviously, due to governments not being prepared to take significant action in those early days, that’s not how things have panned out. But at this point the genie is out of the bottle, and individuals can no longer make a statistical difference. Which I do appreciate, is of little comfort if you, or someone you care about, becomes ill and dies as a result of coming into contact with a person they wouldn’t have come into contact with had the event not gone ahead. I’m just talking on a global scale, this can’t make any difference and the comments are not inaccurate; even if they do go against the grain of how this is being portrayed by the media and most commentators.

        1. Pretty much. The virus is essentially endemic across most countries of the world at this point and the number of seropositives is likely in the dozens of millions. In a country the size of Italy or the UK, you just need as little as 0.0001% of cases to go unnoticed to have another outbreak in a few months without social distancing measures.

          From that viewpoint, to most countries, the “closed borders” measure seems as archaic as those early WHO coronavirus warnings not to eat poorly cooked meat in wet markets…

        2. @mazdachris @Postreader False. A few people travelling can easily harbour a super-spreader, especially given that the statements given don’t appear to indicate much thought has gone into making social distancing work in practise. Especially with the FIA staff. Also, I can easily imagine 10 people in quarantine for COVID-19 could stop an entire F1 race flat in its tracks if they were the wrong 10 people (Pirelli and FIA staff, who are also likely to need to work in proximity to multiple teams, are high on that list). Even if it didn’t get beyond those 10 people (and there’s no way to guarantee it given how international travel works and the peak infectiveness of COVID-19 being a little before symptoms emerge), and even if no recriminations occurred over it (neither of which the powers-that-be can guarantee), that would still be a huge problem for Liberty and the FIA.

          Also, Monaco has managed to get the virus out of its borders. Granted it has several advantages over most other countries, but elimination is possible and drastic reduction very possible. Having a few people known to be cavalier in their attitudes towards COVID-19 would interfere with that process. The attitude presented here is the sort of attitude that makes getting permission, or exemptions, for F1 more difficult to obtain. When I first saw the comment, I wondered if Dr Saillant was trying to stop F1 from having further races in 2020…

    7. just look at that gorgeous mclaren

      1. @alfa145: Can’t stop looking at it. Those were the days when tobacco money was cheap and the cars were sexy.

    8. “Life without racing is boring.”

      What a tragedy!

    9. Magnus Rubensson (@)
      24th May 2020, 10:32

      In case anyone is interested … a nice lap of Zandvoort with the GPL Lotus 49:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roN18Xy9r4U

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