After a break of over three months because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are finally back doing what we love. Paddock life is definitely different, with masks and social distancing being the obvious changes. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg with a whole raft of measures in place to avoid the spread of the virus. Measure include:
- Temperature and symptom checks at the paddock entrance
- A bubble system to prevent any interaction between teams at the track, at the hotels and when travelling
- Remote press conferences, revised pre-race procedures and new prize giving protocols on the podium
- Further testing will take place in between each race, with a negative result required for race attendance
- If positive, then the person has to be isolated and his contacts traced.
Formula 1 was not immune to the major changes demanded by the pandemic and it had to adapt really quickly to the changes imposed. However, we are pleased to be racing again, especially at the Red Bull Ring which is obviously a sort of home race for us. This season was meant to be the longest ever, setting a record in what is the 70th anniversary year for Formula 1. One could say that the new 2020 calendar is certainly special, but maybe not in the way we expected. At the moment, we have eight Grands Prix confirmed, all in Europe. You can see the revised calendar and schedule here.
The technical regulations have also undergone small changes in light of the unique situation. On the tyre front, Pirelli will also decide on the compound allocation per driver, with all of them getting the same sets, as opposed to the drivers and teams making their own choices from the compounds brought to each race. No updates are allowed during the year on the Power Unit and this also goes for the turbo and the MGU-H. The MGU-K, the electronic control unit and the ERS battery can be updated once from now until the end of 2021.
That’s not all. Based on the number of races we end up with this year, a different number of elements of the PU can be changed. 14 GPs or less means just 2 units of each PU element per rivers. Less than 11 races and a driver can only use 2 combustion engines (ICE,) 2 turbocompressors (MGU-H,) 1 battery pack (ES,) I CE and 2 MGU-K.
The Red Bull Ring which kicks off this unusual season is 4.3 kilometres in length, with long straights and high speed corners and is to be found near the town of Spielberg, not far from Graz. It’s in the heart of the Styrian mountains which is how come the second round of the Formula 1 season, which sees us race at this track next weekend is called the Styrian Grand Prix.