Start, Monaco, 2019

Claims F1 will drop street races due to pandemic are “completely wrong”

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Formula 1 has dismissed a report claiming races on street circuits will not go ahead this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

What they say

The 2021 F1 calendar features races at street circuits including Monaco (May), Baku (June), Singapore (October) and Jeddah (December). Reports elsewhere that these races will be cancelled due to concerns over the spread of the pandemic were rejected by an F1 spokesperson:

We have set out the details of the revised 2021 calendar and there are no other changes. The suggestion street races will not take place are completely wrong.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Where is the 2019 Formula Regional European champion heading this year?

Weird to see that Frederik Vesti isn’t returning with Prema, any other F3 seat is basically a step down at this point.

Coupled with the rumours of him becoming a Mercedes junior, maybe a late F2 call up is in the offing, or perhaps a DTM drive?

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On this day in F1

Jacques Villeneuve, Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber F1.06 launch, Valencia, 2006
Jacques Villeneuve, Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber F1.06 launch, Valencia, 2006

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on “Claims F1 will drop street races due to pandemic are “completely wrong””

  1. Wow, Google translate is getting really good at translating German. It just needs to figure out “he/her” instead of “it” and I could have swore I was reading an English language article.

    Surely Hamilton will cave, right? I’m kind of nervously excited for the possibility of Merc pulling the trigger.

    1. @skipgamer

      You’d think so wouldn’t you? Surely Mercedes have all the cards at the moment and as its so late in the day, Lewis has the option of the Merc seat or not racing in f1 in 2021.

      Eddie Jordan has form for being correct about these kind of things (I recall it was him who broke the news that Hamilton was joining Mercedes?)

      1. Surely Mercedes have all the cards at the moment and as its so late in the day

        Not so sure if that’s correct. RBR became pretty close to Mercedes and with Verstappen and Perez (the one of the last couple of races) they have a stronger pairing than Bottas and just another driver (I don’t think Russell would be strong enough yet).

        And indeed Jordan is good at these predictions. Almost as good as those infinite monkeys writing on infinite typewriters.

        1. I think you overestimate the ability of Perez. He’s won a race but he’s not in the top tier class of F1 drivers.

      2. @djarvis Mercedes will only have proper leverage if they open serious negotiations with someone else (presumedly Russell). If they only talk to Lewis, he will just take them to the cleaners as he will see no incentive to reduce or change his position. This is especially true given RBR’s performance in Abu Dhabi.

        I know that Toto is loyal to Lewis but he will need to draw the line somewhere to move out of any impasse.

      3. @djarvis Yeah after Russell it’s Mercedes with all the trumps, whereas before they were all Hamilton’s. Quite unique that.

      4. He also said Hamilton was going to sign for Ferrari, as well as getting some things right Eddie is also known for getting things wrong as well.

    2. Clicking the English option on the linked article provides translation by DeepL rather than Google – I didn’t notice any problem with he/her/it, possibly google is aiming to be more woke?
      I’m not saying EJ is wrong in regard to Hamilton’s contract but it occurred to me that you could substitute “Eddie” for “Lance” in his later comments on the green Mercedes’ primary driver “ a grab bag. You never know what’s in it…He is anything but consistent.”

    3. It is tricky. Mercedes has the car, and the team. They can also get Russell, who appears capable of winning WDC in the Merc, or somebody else.

      Hamilton has proven skill, but I’m not sure what it is worth vs another driver.

      What Hamilton brings that is worth the big $$$ is the Sir Lewis Hamilton victory parade. He, with Mercedes, will probably break 100 poles, 100 wins, and 8 WDC. It will be an advertising bonanza for Mercedes and sponsors. Not just next year, but for as long as racing is watched. Think of the documentaries, movies, YouTube videos, games, books and everything. Sir Lewis and the all conquering Mercedes.

      I’m not sure how many tens of millions it is worth, but F1 is about advertising. Hopefully Hamilton and Merc both make good decisions and agree to a fair deal.

      1. Indeed those 100 wins and 100 poles are very exciting marketing and legacy opportunities, @slotopen.
        But they are linked to the driver rather than the brand.
        It’s actually better for Mercedes to have another driver step in that car and win a few championships.

        Just recall Schumacher and Ferrari. Most of the credit goes to the driver, and in this case Ferrari was still able to win a championship afterwards.

        1. I’d argue having a young gun like Russel winning a championship would be more interesting sponsorships wise

          1. What to replace the sponsors like Hilfiger who are only there because of Hamilton? That’s a lot of money in sponsorship to find.

          2. I always felt Hamilton is a liability for those brands with all his political comments.

          3. @riptide
            There might be more than just the Hamilton factor in the Hilfiger sponsorship. As explained by Dieter in previous articles, Lawrence Stroll is well connected to the fashion world and used to be Hilfiger CEO. He is also a very good friend of Toto Wolff. Look how the RP stepped up in performance thanks to Mercedes support since Stroll being in charge. I have no idea about Mercedes Hilfiger deal but it’s not also difficult to connect the dots in this case.

          4. @tifosi1989. Well my dots connect Hamilton who is a friend of Tommy working together on a deal that replaced Boss with Hilfiger at Mercedes, whilst taking Hamilton on as a designer with an $8 million contract to deliver seasonal collections that make a hefty profit for Hilfiger.

            @paeschli Not to much damage as Hilfiger also promotes diversity and makes a lot of money from the Hamilton range. Or IWC who made £4.6 million from the last LH Limited Edition. And I can’t see Mercedes who have just stated their five year diversity and inclusivity program getting rid of Ham because it hurts their branding.

        2. I think I have to disagree with you @coldfly. Which is rare.

          In MY view Schumacher and Ferrari’s success are always completely inseparable looking back. And I reckon Hamilton and Merc will be the same a decade from now.

          But if course that’s just me speaking, it would be interesting to see which side the majority of fans fall on.

      2. Obviously there is a sense of money being involved, but it might not be primarily money, rather some unpalatable clauses in his contract. And in the background is the virus, and maybe Lewis just doesn’t want to travel the world and run the risk of getting infected again, and you could add to travelling the world the expectation you have to sit in quarantine for 2 weeks everytime you go to a different country (and in some cases a different state). I’m sort of surprised Lewis hasn’t signed by now, so maybe he doesn’t feel he has to have the money.
        I think time is getting short, and that if he doesn’t sign soon then Mercedes will make other arrangements.
        Mercedes have signed Stoffel Vandoorne as their Reserve driver. I suspect he’s a respectable driver, meaning if Lewis doesn’t go then they can use him.

    4. It sounds like Eddie Jordan’s sources have the same information as the ones who fed the reports in the Italian media a couple of weeks ago (which were strenuously denied by Mercedes). He makes the same claims – Hamilton is demanding an eye-watering salary, together with a share of prize money and a bigger role in the company.

      Regardless of the veracity of those reports, the speculation that Mercedes might walk away seems to just be Jordan saying that’s what he’d do in that situation, rather than a prediction.

    5. The article starting by referring to Channel 4 as a BBC subsidiary doesn’t do wonders for establishing the credibility of everything that follows…..

      1. Jordan offers an opinion on a subject he has no inside information on, like most who pontificate on what the issues are. In this case similar nonsense that has been peddled elsewhere for the past few weeks.
        Or are we to believe a highly placed individual with intimate knowledge of these discussions is leaking on one sides behalf to second rate F1 sites that rely on gossip, conjecture, lies and the harvesting of stories from F1 accredited journalists and publications?

      2. @mrfabulous you could also point out that the site claims that Jordan predicted the Ineos-Mercedes deal, but you’d have to say that Eddie’s predictions were really only partially correct at best.

        What Eddie Jordan claimed would happen is that Ineos would be buying out the majority of the team and run it themselves, with Mercedes only holding a minority state. Whilst Ineos did acquire a stake in the team, it was a lot smaller than Jordan claimed it would be and the management of the team has not changed in the way he claimed it would – it’s more akin to the McLaren-MSP Sport Capital deal.

        Whilst he might have had better success in the past, Jordan’s accuracy in terms of predictions does seem to have declined quite a bit from the mid 2010s onwards – a period that roughly reflects Ecclestone’s own declining importance in the sport as well.

        1. anon,

          Whilst he might have had better success in the past, Jordan’s accuracy in terms of predictions does seem to have declined quite a bit from the mid 2010s onwards – a period that roughly reflects Ecclestone’s own declining importance in the sport as well

          That’s an astute observation. If I remember correctly, the last time EJ was spot on was when he broke Michael Schumacher return with Mercedes in 2010.

          1. @tifoso1989 there were a few cases after that where he did also predict some moves that were correct, which is why I tended more towards roughly the mid 2010s for a more notable decline.

            Probably the two most recent notable predictions that were fairly spot on after that would be the two moves that he predicted in 2013 – that Kimi Raikkonen would be returning to Ferrari and that the announcement would come around the Italian GP (with Kimi being confirmed the day after the 2013 Italian GP), and that Ricciardo would be promoted to Red Bull for 2014 when it was announced that Webber was retiring.

            Certainly, Eddie Jordan is known to have maintained close links to Bernie for quite some time, and indeed some have suggest Jordan was seen as being a useful outlet for Bernie to circulate information to the press without putting his name directly to it. The Kimi to Ferrari story in 2013 would be one such example – given Kimi’s popularity with the fan base and the kudos of having a former WDC back on the grid, it would be in Bernie’s interest to make sure that story was well promoted within the press.

            Now, whilst Bernie wasn’t ousted from FOM until later, there were some signs that, when the investigation into Bernie’s involvement with Gribkowsky took place in 2014, there were reports at the time that CVC Partners did suspend Bernie from some of his duties, and also some of his authority, within FOM at the time. From that point onwards, Bernie’s influence in F1 was going into decline, and it does seem as if, from about the same period onwards, Eddie also declined in accuracy – which might not be surprising if his contacts, who would have been associated with Bernie, would have been marginalised as CVC Partners gradually sidelined him in advance of the sale to Liberty Media.

  2. At the moment I just can’t see how a promoter could take the gamble of putting all that infrastructure in place for a street race when it could be postponed by a Government ruling at any moment.

    It’s much easier to manage at permanent circuits (everything’s already there), in some parts of the world (England included were most of the teams are based) the virus is just as, if not more, prevalent as it was last year when the start of the season was cancelled and F1 scrambled to put Imola, Mugello, Nurburgring and Istanbul Park on the calender, as well as double headers at some tracks.

    The rumoured double header at Barcelona fills me with dread though, one boring race around that circuit is bad enough

    1. Street races anywhere and races in relatively virus free areas aren’t happening for a long time because I don’t see vaccinations being a panacea. Countries unscathed by the virus aren’t going to suddenly want to introduce the virus into their countries if the vaccinations aren’t going eradicate the virus.

      Street races are usually unprofitable even selling 100% of seats. They aren’t going to set up infrastructure only for 50 or 20% in attendance, or maybe 0% if virus cases spike.

      Surely it’s dawned on everyone especially F1 by now that nothing is ever going back to how it was before the virus escaped in Autumn 2019.

      1. @Dean F Things will definitely go back to how they were pre-COVID at some point. Why wouldn’t they? Life returned to normal from the 2003 SARS epidemic, which is the most comparable case to COVID-19 since these two are connected and also others such as the Swine Influenza in 2010, etc.

        1. SARS infected 8000 people. It was contained to China, Hong Kong and some cases in Vietnam and Singapore. We got very lucky in 2003.

          SARS 2 has infected 95 million people and endemic almost everywhere in Earth.

          And it seems to be mutating into something more virulent, vaccines are having little impact in Israel and the UK.

          If after 12 months you think it’s no big deal then I don’t any facts will change your mind.

          1. @Dean F Still, nothing is forever, which is my point here. Someday, at some point in the future, life will most definitely return to how it was pre-COVID.

          2. Sorry what? The vaccines have only been delivered for a couple of weeks in the UK and only the very old have got them. Can you provide a source to where it says anywhere the vaccines are not working?

            If you cant can you keep it shut please? People are risking their lives and they must wonder why when comments like yours get aired

          3. @jerejj do you think that the world just snapped back to how it was before the 1918-1919 flu pandemic, which would be a more comparable outbreak in terms of scale?

            There were quite significant social and economic impacts that lasted for years beyond the initial outbreak – historical precedent would suggest that things will not just go back to how they were, and that it is rather more likely that there will be longer term changes as a result of this outbreak.

  3. Ahhh damn and there was me thinking we might miss Monaco twice in 2 years 😞

    1. @x-f1-x It can still happen.

  4. petebaldwin (@)
    17th January 2021, 2:58

    I’m not sure if Grosjean racing Indycars around ovals is such a good idea…

    1. He should stream more often instead, more Among Us please!

    2. I’m definitely going to tune in though and to be fair hes not speared into any barriers turning left yet

    3. @petebaldwin Me neither. He even says he is scared of them. I would have loved to see Grosjean, as a good F1 racer, go to Indycar and see what he could do, but after this crash he will surely have lost some speed. He will likely be overly careful too, which might be just as dangerous as, so this doesn’t bode well.

  5. Merc should get Russell in there for 2021 at a fraction of the cost of Hamilton (I’m sure Russell will do it for 1/10th of what Hamilton is demanding), and then put that $45 million they will save in 2021 towards Verstappen’s contract in 2022.

    After 7 years in a row driving a car that has had 71 front row starts and been virtually unchallenged (Ferrari 2000-04 only ever had 15), I’m not sure how good Hamilton’s race skills will still be. He hasn’t really been forced to a drive a car race after race at its limit since 2013, he has rarely been forced to fight another team’s driver wheel to wheel with equal machinery let alone with a disadvantage. Those skills atrophy over time. Look at Turkey where without a car advantage he was stuck behind Vettel for 30 laps.

    1. Hillarious!

    2. Bit early for drinking isn’t it?

    3. Dean F, given the way that you seem to have added up the laps to get that answer, it would appear that you have stayed quiet on the fact that, if you applied the same approach to Verstappen, you’d have to admit he spent 37 laps behind Vettel in that same race…

    4. What utter rubbish. Have you watched this sport since 2013?

    5. Didn’t he win Turkey this year? Give me a break. Those conditions negated any advantage Merc and Hamilton had, Still kept it together and won the race. Lets not get into A few years ago Ferrari having a stronger car and he still won championships, yet people still complain.
      I actually feel sorry for Hamilton sometimes, no matter what he does, records and all, people still criticise a driver who could arguably be the best ever but just because he has a political stance, or he shows off in his new clothes, people still complain. Move on

  6. True, there aren’t other changes at the moment, but this doesn’t mean changes couldn’t happen later. There’s certainly a possibility for Monaco, Baku, and even Montreal not going ahead for the second consecutive year. Singapore and Jeddah are too early to judge this far in advance.

    Despite Grosjean’s possible move to IndyCar being a known thing for some time, I still find it weird if it actually happened, given that he has a family. Racing in a category that solely has races in Europe or more than one continent like F1, I thought would be more likely.

  7. Who cares about the Social Media Section?

    Hey Recefans it’s 2021 and we have social media on our own, if we come to visit your tiny website, we sure follow Sainz on Instagram.

    1. Occasionally there is something interesting on the linked “socials”, but all I see here is just a photo of Sainz in a red shirt. It might look nice on his mum’s mantlepiece but not sure why anyone here would care.

      Or am I missing something?

      1. @juan-fanger You’re missing that this site are Hamilton and Sainz fans

  8. Re Grosjean: Don’t think he will ever get back into open-wheel racing. Should do Twitch streams instead, that would entertain me.
    Re Hamilton: So this is the reason why it’s taking them so long?

  9. Grosjean is not the brightest tool in the shed now, is he?

    1. As someone who doesn’t know anything about Indycar, would you mind explaining?

  10. As long as I’d like to see more competitivness to the season, I doubt that the contract between Mercedes and Hamilton isn’t done and dusted and only some minor clauses are being discussed. It simply doesn’t make sense to stop now when the 2021 titles are on the plate, plus the Wolff’s three-year agreement is a strong indicator (and even his dismissal that “three years don’t mean anything” would mean they would do a year or two at best and then trigger the clause and exit).

  11. I doubt Hamilton’s contract delay is only about money. If it is about money then Mercedes have much cheaper options.
    Hamilton is very close to retirement from being an F1 driver as such there are considerations to be made about his role after he does retire. There are also things to do with image rights, future products or projects etc.
    Mercedes wont also want him to do a Rosberg midway through an agreement.

  12. If I were to guess I’ll say the delay in contract signing is related to length of contract. Next year is easy to figure out but after that…

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