Hungarian Grand Prix organisers have confirmed that the Formula 1 race will take place without fans if it happens in 2020, and have offered refunds to ticket holders.
The news comes after the government extended the ban on events with more than 500 people until August 15.
Even a closed doors race at the Hungaroring would comfortably break that limit, but it’s understood that the government would accept that it is a broadcast operation, and not a public event.
The race is still officially scheduled for August 2, and it’s not clear what date is now on the table in discussions with the Formula 1 organisation.
However sources indicate that it is likely to be outside the current limit of the ban anyway.
“The decision by the Hungarian government barring events with over 500 people from taking place in the country until August 15th has clearly had a direct impact on the [race},” the organisers said in a statement given to Autosport.
“The Hungaroring team has been regularly liaising with Formula 1 to explore all possible ways to stage [the race] in front of fans.
“However, in light of this decision this is unfortunately no longer possible.
“The health and well-being of all our fantastic Formula 1 fans, staff and championship participants has been and remains our primary concern throughout this period and with that in mind, we have regrettably been left with no choice but to reach this conclusion.
“We have continuously emphasised our willingness to work towards a safe solution that would allow us to welcome the entire Formula 1 family to the Hungaroring this August but it is now evident that any F1 race in Hungary can now only be held behind closed doors.
“While this is not an ideal scenario, we do believe that staging the event behind closed doors – which our fans can still watch on television – is preferable to not having a race at all.
“Furthermore, it will also ensure that a global audience of millions can still watch the race taking place in Hungary via F1’s vast international broadcast coverage.
“As such, we are continuing our working with Formula 1 to try and find a way to make this possible.”
Fans have been offered either a refund or the opportunity to transfer their ticket to 2021.
Published at Fri, 01 May 2020 08:23:27 +0000
Carlos Sainz Jr believes Formula 1 drivers will struggle with their necks in the first race of 2020 when the sport finally resumes following the COVID-19 crisis.
With F1 races already cancelled or postponed until at least July, drivers are set to face at least five months without getting behind the wheel of a grand prix car.
While all of them keep working out from home to stay in shape for when F1 resumes, Sainz says no training can prepare them for the demands F1 machinery puts on their necks during races.
“It affects you a lot, especially the neck,” Sainz said of the long period without driving an F1 car.
“No matter how hard you train at home, it’s impossible to generate the g-forces you are going to get in an F1 car.
“The circuit they choose for the first race is going to have a big influence on how much drivers will struggle after all those months without driving or train the neck. It will be a very tough challenge.
“Right now Austria is the first race that’s not cancelled (sic). It’s not one of the toughest circuits but we are going to suffer on the fast corners.
“If the first race was in Hungary or Singapore, I can assure you many drivers would finish the race being close to collapsing.
“People can’t imagine the stress the body suffers during a grand prix. The only way to be fit to drive an F1 car is by driving an F1 car,” added Sainz.
The Spanish driver insisted that once the racing resumes, Formula 1 needs to make sure it takes all the necessary safety measures for its staff and the people in the countries it visits.
“I think F1 and the teams are going to need to be very careful with how the staff travels,” he said.
“They can’t move us from one place to the next without some more than reasonable safety guarantees for all, both those of us who travel with F1 and those in the countries with visit.
“I want to get back to normal as soon as possible, but not at any price.
“These days the drivers are in contact with the FIA and FOM mainly through the GPDA.
“Nothing has been decided yet, but I know several ideas are being considered for when racing resumes.”
Published at Fri, 01 May 2020 08:00:29 +0000