F1 green light for new season despite latest lockdown
Formula 1 has confirmed it is 'business as usual' and the new season is not under threat despite the latest lockdown in England.
United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday night that due to the soaring rate of infections caused by the new strain of Covid-19 there was no alternative but to place England under a nationwide lockdown until the third week in February at the earliest.
Seven of the 10 F1 teams - Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Aston Martin, Renault, Haas and Williams - have bases in the country, and the latest stringent measures could have had an adverse effect, particularly with the sole pre-season test running from March 1-3.
While elite sports are, for now, exempt from the latest restrictions and the likes of Premier League players are allowed to continue to train and compete, F1's reliance is on its ability to travel.
Again, at present, however, the travel exemption that applied to F1 last season, and that allowed it to fulfil a heavily-revised 17-race calendar, remains in place.
It is unlikely to be the only change, with FIA president Jean Todt confirming he is expecting additional alterations to be made over the coming weeks, and not just with F1.
Speaking at the recent FIA Awards ceremony to recognise the winners and the stars of 2020, Todt said: "Unfortunately, it's not over.
"It's not like the season is ending, we start from a white piece of paper. Lockdown is still going to happen, confinement, the virus is there.
"There has been progress. We are expecting a vaccine, so it will be good for the population, good for the planet to be able to enjoy that.
"But I'm sure that over the next days, we will hear quite a lot of potential changes on the different calendars, not only Formula 1, but on other calendars.
"If I had to commit on a back to kind of normal, even if I feel it will be a different life behind the COVID-19 crisis, I think half of next year , in my opinion, will not be as we could have expected to have in a normal season."
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