MIKA27

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About MIKA27

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  • Birthday 04/26/1976

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  1. New F1 rules in the ‘sweet spot’ for McLaren – but fans will be real winners, says Brown Formula 1, the FIA and the 10 F1 teams used the coronavirus-enforced downtime to good effect, taking the opportunity to agree on significant rule changes for the sport from 2021 onwards. And while McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown couldn’t deny that the new rules were a perfect fit for a team like his, the real winners, he believes, will be the fans. The rules, announced in May, saw the original proposed cost cap of $175 million reduced to $145 million for 2021, decreasing to $140 million and then $135 million in the following two seasons – while new ‘sliding scale’ aerodynamic testing regulations, with the lowest-scoring team from a season afforded the most amount of testing time for the following year and vice versa, were also introduced. Asked about the new rules on Formula 1’s F1 Nation podcast, Brown said: “I am pleased for the outcome. I think the sport now is much more sustainable. I think it's going to make the sport much more competitive and ultimately the fans are going to be the winners. “And I think if the fans win, the sport wins, because we'll have more fans, newer fans. That will drive television, that will drive countries wanting to have more Grands Prix, that will drive more sponsor partners wanting to join. So I think well done to the industry. It wasn't easy, not everyone was always on the same page but I think we've landed in a very good spot.” Brown might be expected to be happy, given that the higher-spending midfield teams like his, AlphaTauri, Racing Point and Renault are the ones who’ll have to do the least adaptation to operate at the $145 million cap. But Brown believed that all 10 teams on the grid – and any future ones – would ultimately benefit from the changes. “Where the rules have landed are right in the sweet spot of McLaren,” Brown conceded, “but I think if I look at the top three spending teams, they have plenty of resource, so they'll have challenges in scaling back – but that's kind of a good problem to have, so to speak, so I think they'll remain as competitive as ever. “And then I think you're going to have three or four teams that now run in the budget cap, ourselves, Renault, Racing Point and I think AlphaTauri will also. And I think Red Bull, if I'm Dr Helmut Marko, I now have two teams and collectively, I can kind of spread my resources and create two equal teams, so I think they're a big winner out of this as well. “And then I think it closes the budget gap for – I'm not sure if Sauber, Haas and Williams will run at the cap, but the difference between where they are today and where the cap will be will certainly be tighter. So I think everybody's really a winner at the end of the day, and it's going to make for fairer, more balanced competition.” McLaren are one of the teams to have suffered serious financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic, having recently announced around 1,200 redundancies from the McLaren Group – with around 70 of those coming from the F1 side of the business – while McLaren are also understood to be considering a partial sale of the team.
  2. ‘Seems like everything’s gone against me’, says Ocon ahead of delayed F1 return F1 fans around the world are excited about the prospect of Esteban Ocon returning to front-line driving action for the first time since 2018. But it seems like the Racing Gods might have been less keen, with the Frenchman admitting that, after the delayed start to the 2020 season, he feels like fate is conspiring to keep him away from the track. Ocon has endured an up and down ride in F1 thus far, losing his seat at Force India/Racing Point at the end of 2018 to make way for his friend Lance Stroll, whose father had just bought the team, while a reported move to Renault for 2019 was then scotched when Daniel Ricciardo sensationally moved over from Red Bull. After a year on the sidelines as Mercedes’ reserve driver, Ocon then secured the drive with Renault for 2020 – only for the coronavirus outbreak to prevent his racing return in Australia. “It seems like everything is going against me for me to restart,” chuckled Ocon during a Renault virtual press conference ahead of the start of the revised season in Austria on July 3-5. “I'm smiling here but I'm crying deep inside. “Last year was very difficult. This year, it's a different feeling because I'm in a great team, I have a great challenge ahead, with a competitive car and I look forward to restart for sure. But having that in mind, you have a target, which is very different to when you're trying to find a challenge ahead of you. [This season] I knew what I was working for, I knew how much I wanted it, and I'm hungry to restart for sure.” Ocon got reacquainted with F1 machinery during a test of the 2018 Renault at the Red Bull Ring on June 17 – and believes that he’s as prepared as possible for his racing return. “I felt good, restarting in the car last week,” said Ocon. “It's been so cool to get back to a real track after spending so much time doing esports – getting back to the real track felt awesome. Going back out of the garage is a special feeling after such a long time. And it didn't take me long to get back up to pace. I felt good, I felt sharp, I felt quick, so definitely ready to restart next week in Austria.” Ocon also revealed that he had adapted his lifestyle entirely to make sure that there wasn’t one last hurdle to his return to Grand Prix racing – a dreaded positive test for coronavirus. “I'm changing everything – there's not one single thing that I do the same in my life,” said Ocon. “When I travel or as soon as I go out to get some food at the supermarket or anything, everything's different. “It would be crazy to have waited so long, to have prepared that much and arrive and be positive at the test for myself, or risking myself to be positive and [creating] risk for the team. So I'm definitely massively careful. Risk-zero doesn't exist unfortunately but you can take some out if you're careful.”
  3. Tents, awnings to replace motorhomes in Austrian GP paddock Formula 1's paddock will look completely different at its first races back, with tents and awnings replacing motorhomes, and team trucks further away from garages. As part of a move to limit the number of staff needing to attend, F1 has agreed with teams that the usual motorhomes that are a feature for European races will no longer be brought along. The building and transportation of F1's super-structure motorhomes required a lot of staff and it was felt that it would be better for teams to use circuit facilities instead. The absence of the motorhomes means that there is now space for a paddock rejig, with plans having been agreed for team trucks – which are normally close to the pit garage doors – being moved further away. Teams will then build tents and awnings at the back of the pits, which they can use as overspill space from the garage to help with any social distancing requirements. In a video explaining how Mercedes was coping with the challenge of the coronavirus races, Karl Fanson, head of its race team logistics, explained how different things will be. "It won't be the same setup as a normal European race because we won't have any motorhomes," he said. "In agreement with F1, what we've managed to do is we're going to move the race trucks further away from the garages, and we'll be supplying our own tents and awnings. "[This will] give us more working space within the garage. It's easier to social distance and work comfortably." F1 teams are also going to have to change their procedures of dealing with outside suppliers in the paddock, in a bid to make sure there is minimal risk of infection. Fanson explained that deliveries of items from the factory will now have to be collected away from the paddock, while there will be a different approach to getting fuel and tyres. "Normally we would have our fuel delivered to the garage and then we would send people to Pirelli to collect the tyres," he said. "Now, there will be drop off point and collection point for the fuel, and also the tyres will be taken to a drop off point. Our lads will go to the collection point and collect the tyres, and then vice versa. "Once we're finished with the tyres we'll take them back, and Pirelli will pick them up once we're clear of the area."
  4. Red Bull upgrades revealed at its filming day Red Bull wanted to do more than just get reacquainted with the RB16 during its filming day at Silverstone on Thursday, as it also used its allotted 100km to test out some new parts ahead of the season opener in Austria next week. Unlike Mercedes and Ferrari, which opted for the capability to run for longer with an older car in its pre-Austria running, Red Bull felt it better to use its limited time at Silverstone to evaluate protocols and give a first run out to some updated new parts. The most obvious aspect of the update package tested was the new rapid prototyped hedgehog-style fins mounted on top of the fully enclosed holes that run parallel to the floor's edge. It's not a totally new solution as we've seen other teams do similar in the past, as can seen in the Ferrari SF71H illustration below. However, it would appear that Red Bull is now looking to exploit the advantage it brings of working the corresponding floor holes harder and consequently altering the airflow that hits the rear tyre. It would appear that the team has also been working on the shape, number and position of the fins mounted towards the front of the bargeboards' footplate which will ultimately change the behaviour of the airflow passing by. Furthermore, it appears that a cluster of legality slots have been added to the leading edge of the upper sidepod wing, and the mid-wing that houses the side impact spar. This indicates that there may also be many more corresponding changes on the floor below. However, whether these are just slots or an adjustment to the airflow aligning strakes that reside on the face of the upturned leading edge of the floor, remains to be seen. The team was also monitoring the flex and rotation of the front wing during its running, as a hi-speed camera looked across at the reference point on the front wing. This is an important parameter for teams to understand, as they continue to nudge up to what can be achieved under load out on circuit whilst being able to fully comply with the static tests conducted by the FIA in the pitlane. It's unclear how much of its planned Austria upgrade package was revealed at Silverstone, but Red Bull is clearly heading in to the campaign as aggressive as main rival Mercedes which has also boasted of bringing a lot of new parts.
  5. Russell: Perfecting procedures "biggest thing" on return Williams Formula 1 driver George Russell believes that it will be easy to get back into driving mode in Austria next weekend and likens it to “riding a bike”, but admits that remembering the correct procedures and managing a race has potential for mistakes. Russell, who has not had the opportunity to test a real car during the break, was surprised by how easily he got back into a rhythm when he returned to the Williams simulator. The Briton also believes that his recent focus on Esports, which saw him win the unofficial Virtual GP championship, has helped to keep him sharp. “I’ve driven on the sim and my first five laps were absolutely terrible,” he said in an F1 vodcast. “But by my 12th lap I was actually quicker than what I was prior to Australia, same track, same set-up, everything exactly the same. I was quite shocked by that to be honest. “It took a little while to remember some of the procedures we had to do, and the way I worked with my engineers. “I think that’s probably going to be the biggest thing, when you talk about rhythm, remembering exactly what feedback my guys need, how I need to drive in certain ways for the out lap, in-laps, cool down laps. That’s probably the point where we’ll make a couple of mistakes.” Russell says that simply driving a fast lap will come easily. “From a qualifying perspective, when it’s everything on the table, everything you’ve got, I think that’s just going to be like riding a bike to be honest. “Essentially you’ve either got it or you don’t, and you know how you need to drive for a lap like that. But when it does come to the race you’ve got to manage your tyres, manage your brakes, the engine temperature, attacking, defending, engine modes, talking to the engineers, giving them feedback. “That’s the part that requires probably the most skill, there’s a lot of finesses required to optimise your whole package. “I’ve done a lot of looking back over my notes, how I was preparing for Australia, how I ended Abu Dhabi last year, when I went into the simulator how I need to approach the race, so fingers crossed we should be in a good position.” Russell says his virtual racing experience was relevant because of the pressure to get it right. “I first started out as a bit of fun with my mates, then I soon learned they are pretty damn fast and pretty competitive. I was, obviously I’m at the back of the grid in real F1, I don’t want to come here and be uncompetitive. “So I put a bit of effort in, put a bit of work in, and just having that competitiveness was great. It gave me that opportunity to stay sharp. Even though it’s virtual, when you get to the real race, there’s still a lot of things that are very similar. “You’ve still got to go out in qualifying, you’ve got three laps to do the job, and if you don’t do the job then you’re going to be at the back of the grid, and you’ve still got that pressure. “You can all do a quick lap time in practice, but when it comes to quali you’ve got to do the job and that pressure’s there, it’s a different story. “And also a race start, cars around you waiting for the lights to go off, when you’re sat on the grid and you’ve got those five red lights coming on, and you’re quite anxious and ready to let go of the clutch. “That’s the same in the virtual world. Little things like that definitely didn’t hurt at all.”
  6. Ferrari: New restrictions won't slow down F1 pitstops Formula 1’s pitstops should not be any slower as a result of the staffing restrictions that have been put on teams, reckons Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies. As part of the protocols introduced amid the coronavirus pandemic, teams have had to cut back on the number of staff members they are allowed at races. An overall limit on personnel allowed to work on the car has been replaced with a limit on total team members at the event – with the ceiling set at 80. Furthermore, amid efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus if a team member is infected, teams like Ferrari have set up their own social bubbles within their squads – with the crews of both cars separated as much as possible. The complications will make it harder for team members to work closely together, and garage jobs are expected to take a longer time than before. However, Mekies thinks that when it comes to pitstops, teams will be just as fast as always. “We now have an overall [personnel] limit which was not there before, of 80 people in total," explained Mekies. "So we had to cut mainly non technical people. As a result, the pitstop operations and engineering operations are not so much affected. “They are a little bit affected because through global responsibility we have tried to take as few people as possible to the racetrack regardless of the limit. But overall, you will not see a big change in the number of people involved in pit stop or in operations. “We have reduced the numbers to do as many things as we could remotely. As you know, we have what we call the ‘parallel box’ here [at Ferrari], the remote garage, that supports our operations. So everything we can do, we are doing remotely. As I'm sure the other teams are doing, as are the FIA “But as far as the pitstops are concerned, you will see the same operation there.”
  7. Racing Point: Cost cap won’t harm Mercedes relationship Racing Point Formula 1 team boss Otmar Szafnauer doesn’t believe that a more tightly-packed field in the future will jeopardise the team’s technical partnership with Mercedes. Along with its power unit the world championship-winning outfit provides a gearbox and other systems to Racing Point, as well as usage of the Brackley wind tunnel. Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul suggested recently that such relationships could be under threat if the cost cap closes the field up and the bigger teams become less keen to supply technology to partners who could potentially challenge them. However Szafnauer says that the current pacesetters will still have an edge, even if the gap closes, so it won’t become an issue. “I understand the theory, I just can’t predict the future,” Szafnauer told Motorsport.com. “I still think the big teams will have an advantage, even in 2022. They’re not going to going to wake up, bump their heads and forget how to develop a fast racing car. That just doesn’t happen. “There’s more than just having the right tools, it’s also having the right people, and they’ve had the right people for a long time, which is why they are where they are. They’re not going to forget. “And usually from what I’ve seen in the past when you have wholesale technical change it’s the well-funded big guys who do a better job. I still think that’s going to be the same trend. “Maybe the difference won’t be so big, and we’ll be able to catch up more readily, but I still think the guys with the bigger resources and better knowledge will end up doing the better job.” Szafnauer says a big team is only likely to withdraw its technical support of a partner if a specific area plays a big role in determining the pecking order. “There will always be some kind of differentiator in F1 where one team does a better job than the others," he said. "I think in time once we know what the regulations are, and the details, then we’ll figure out where those differentiators are. “If they are for example the fact that if you do your own gearbox, you’ve got a huge advantage, then I can see Mercedes saying, ‘Well you know what, you can go and do your own gearbox, I don’t want to share my gearbox with you.’ “There might be a little bit of that. I get it from an economic standpoint, but it’s really, really hard to predict that. “If it’s just a general thing that the whole grid is going to get a little bit close, therefore I don’t want to give you access to my wind tunnel and sell you my gearbox, I can’t see that, because there will be all sorts of other differentiators. But you don’t know, so let’s see where that goes.”
  8. Brawn: Austria will be exciting even without reverse grid Ross Brawn expects Formula 1 to hold “two exciting races” in Austria next month despite plans for a reverse grid qualifying format change being rejected. F1 will hold back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on July 5 and July 12 to start the revised 2020 calendar after the opening 10 rounds were called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will mark the first time in F1 history that a circuit has held multiple rounds of the world championship in the same season, with Silverstone set to do the same in August. F1 officials had proposed shaking up the format for the second race in Austria - known as the Styrian Grand Prix - by running a reverse grid sprint race on Saturday in place of qualifying. But the plans were rejected after failing to receive unanimous support from teams, with Mercedes opposing the idea. Speaking in the latest part of the #thinkingforward series of interviews with motor racing’s leaders, F1 managing director of motorsports Brawn explained the renewed push for the format change. “We introduced the concept of a qualifying race, which was based on reverse championship order, and then that would take you through to the main event which would be the race on the Sunday,” Brawn said in an interview at the FIA eConference. “We discussed that last year, and we had pretty good support for that, but not unanimous. And it’s been the same case this year. There have been some teams who haven’t felt that’s something we should be doing. “Our concern was simply where we have two races at the same track, because of the situation this year. We’re going to have two races in Austria, two races in Silverstone, possibly two races later in the year at one or another of the tracks. “The second race, we wanted to see if there was an opportunity to try a different format.” Brawn said he remains committed to making different tweaks for the second races at circuits. Plans are already in place for different tyre compounds to be made available to teams at the second Silverstone race, while the possibility of using an alternate layout in Bahrain has also been suggested. But even without the changes for Austria, Brawn expressed his confidence that F1 would deliver two exciting races to get the 2020 season underway. “There are some small things we can do with the selection of tyre compounds, and one or two other things, but I think they’re quite minor. [Reverse grids] were a bigger step,” Brawn said. “One or two tracks later in the year have the added attraction they can run in a different configuration, so that might be an opportunity if we have a second race there to run the track in a different configuration and create some difference between the two races. “But I suspect Austria is going to be pretty exciting. [It’s the] beginning of the season, nature of the track there, everyone settling in, and I think we will find that we have two exciting races there without doing anything to it. “But it’s just later in the year we were perhaps looking at these changes.”
  9. Giovinazzi backs “cool” plan for three Italian F1 races Italy’s only current Formula 1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi says he’s “a big supporter” of the suggestion that the country could host three Grands Prix in September, describing the idea as “really cool.” Mugello and Imola are both in the running to host races after the currently scheduled Italian GP at Monza on September 6, with Imola’s boss having this week touted a triple header. Sources suggest that it’s currently more likely that Mugello will host a race on September 13 followed by a trip to Portimao in Portugal, but Imola is not yet officially out of contention, although there are issues with the layout of its pit entry. Both Italian venues staked their claims when they hosted F1 tests this week, with Ferrari running at Mugello, and AlphaTauri at Imola. Italy last hosted two World Championship races in 2006, the final year of Imola’s San Marino GP. “I’m just really happy to hear this one because for me to race three times in Italy is something that will never happen again,” Alfa Romeo driver Giovinazzi told the F1 podcast. “I would be the first Italian driver to race in one year in three Italian races. “It will be really cool. We don’t know yet, but I’m a big supporter of this. Unfortunately, it will not be the same thing as when I raced last year, because the people make the difference for me, the fans, the Tifosi, and unfortunately the people will not be there. “But I’m really happy if for three weeks in a row I can race in Italy. I’m just really excited about this news. We’ll see what happens, but like I said before, I’m a supporter.” Giovinazzi likes all three venues, and says they offer different challenges: “They are three fantastic tracks. Monza for sure I had a lot of experience there, a lot of races. It was my first Italian GP last year, so for me it’s a special track. “Mugello, I think with this new F1 car, it’s an unbelievable track, it will be amazing to do one quali lap there. But also Imola, a lot of history, it’s a really fast track, a really narrow track as well. I just want to race on all three of them, because they are fantastic and exciting tracks.”
  10. Bremont’s Latest Pilot Watches Come With The Chance To Fly In A Spitfire The Battle Of Britain was one of history’s most well-recorded happenings, and while it might have taken place all the way back in 1940, its relevance lives on in the hearts and minds of those willing and able to remember. To honor the 80th anniversary of the operation, Bremont has released a one-of-a-kind watch capsule dubbed the ‘Battle Of Britain,’ commemorating the lauded military aircraft that helped to turn the tide of war. The Battle Of Britain Collection features two unique, aircraft-inspired silhouettes. The first, an homage to the recognizable Spitfire variants flown by the country’s valiant pilots, draws heavy influence from the Smiths clocks found within. It adopts a beautifully-realized 43mm DLC coated stainless steel case, a Trip-Tick multi-piece construction, and a black DLC coating to give it a more contemporary appeal. On its rear, an etched illustration of the Supermarine Spitfire platform makes its debut. The second watch in the collection, the Hurricane, seeks to embody the essence of iconic, World War II-era design, taking on a 40mm stainless steel case, a scratch-resistant DLC-treated case barrel, and a vintage brown leather bund strap. At $18,995, the collection might cost a pretty penny, but buyers will also be eligible for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, allowing them a unique Spitfire flight experience and a personalized engraving of the date of the flight afterward. Head to Bremont’s website for more info. $18,995
  11. The 830HP SCV12 Track-Only Hypercar Boasts Lambo’s Most Powerful V12 In May, Lamborghini teased an upcoming project that would send a ripple through the automotive world. What the company didn’t reveal, however, was that the high-profile racing circuit would also be affected by its impending release. Now, the Italian automaker has revealed its newest platform, the SCV12: a monstrous, track-only hypercar that boasts the most powerful V12 engine the company has ever produced. The Lamborghini SCV12 makes its debut as the first-ever release developed by its Squadra Corse racing division, capturing the eyes, and ears, of the genre’s most influential figures. Thanks to its naturally aspirated V12 powerplant, cutting-edge aerodynamics, and a featherweight carbon-fiber chassis, the car has been touted to produce around 830 horsepower. In order to counteract the engine’s immense power, as well as keep the car on the roadway, Lamborghini has employed a unique system that translates dynamic air pressure and directs it into the SCV12’s intake manifold, increasing static air pressure and promoting greater airflow. The hypercar retains the brand’s lauded rear-wheel-drive layout and sequential six-speed gearbox. As a bonus, the few drivers who get their hands on the ultra-limited model will gain admission to Lamborghini’s advanced driving program, where they’ll be tutored by five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Emanuele Pirro, on the world’s most prestigious circuits. Head to the company’s website to learn more.
  12. Watch Jessica Chastain Play an Assassin on the Run from Colin Farrell in ‘Ava’ Trailer Nearly two years ago, we got our first look at Jessica Chastain as a deadly assassin in Eve, an action thriller that doubled as an unlikely reunion between the actress and The Help director Tate Taylor. The film hasn’t been heard from since… until today, that is. Vertical Entertainment has released the first trailer for Ava, which is the film’s new title. I bet there’s a really juicy backstory about that switcheroo, but I don’t have the time or inclination to run it down. Perhaps they changed it because the script was written by the original director, Matthew Newton, who left the project when past domestic violence incidents resurfaced online. Anyway, Chastain plays the title character, an assassin who works for a black ops organization that sends her all over the world to carry out high-profile hits. When a job goes dangerously wrong, she is forced to fight for her own survival. Judging from this trailer, Ava’s handlers are played by Colin Farrell and John Malkovich, who end up coming to blows themselves. I take it Farrell wins that battle, seeing as he and Chastain have their own hand-to-hand battle later in the trailer, which deserves some kind of award for showing the entire movie in just 2.5 minutes. The supporting cast is pretty decent for a movie like Ava, which co-stars Geena Davis, Ioan Gruffudd, Diana Silvers, Jess Weixler, and Common as Chastain’s love interest who hasn’t seen her in eight years and quickly picks up where the two of them left off. While it’s unclear when this movie will arrive on VOD, later this summer feels like a safe bet, though Ava will likely be made available early to DirecTV subscribers.
  13. Robert Pattinson and Johnny Depp Are ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’ in New Trailer Samuel Goldwyn Films has released a trailer for its starry period piece Waiting for the Barbarians, which marks the English-language debut of Colombian filmmaker Ciro Guerra (Embrace of the Serpent). Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) stars in this thoughtful adaptation of J.M. Coetzee‘s acclaimed 1980 novel, which finds him playing the nameless magistrate of an isolated frontier settlement on the border of an unnamed empire. The Magistrate looks forward to an easy retirement, that is, until Colonel Joll (Johnny Depp) arrives to report on the security of the border and the activities of the so-called ‘barbarians,’ who are rumored to be planning an attack against the regime. As commander of the regime’s army, Joll conducts a series of ruthless interrogations, which leads the Magistrate to question his loyalty to the empire. Robert Pattinson co-stars as an officer, and the rest of the cast includes Greta Scacchi, David Dencik, Sam Reid, Harry Melling, Bill Milner, and Gana Bayarsaikhan as a character known simply as “The Girl.” Coetzee is a South African author whose novel can be read as an allegory for apartheid, and Waiting for the Barbarians ultimately argues on behalf of peace, understanding and inclusivity. It’s a noble effort about a man who uses his power to push back against intolerance, and though it’s unlikely to draw the same audience as Pattinson’s next movie Tenet or any of Depp’s recent blockbusters, here’s hoping that those who do give this film a chance heed its message. Waiting for the Barbarians will be released on VOD on Aug. 7
  14. Last Trailer For Horror Film Antebellum Before August 21st Opening
  15. Renault F1 boss fears empty grandstands until 2021 Spectators may not be able to return to grands prix until the 2021 season, according to Renault DP World F1 Team boss Cyril Abiteboul, due to the coronavirus and associated economic risk. The pandemic has prompted a redrafting of Formula 1’s calendar and regulations, with the FIA approving ‘Closed Events’, at which there is a vast reduction on attending personnel. Part of the stipulation of Closed Events is that no spectators are permitted access to the venue. All eight rounds confirmed so far are set to be Closed Events though Formula 1 chiefs have previously expressed optimism that fans will be able to return later in the year. But, speaking during DP World’s Enabling Smarter Conversations series, Abiteboul has cautioned that race organisers may be reluctant to fast-track the return of spectators. “It may take a while,” said Abiteboul on the notion of well-attended grands prix. “We are bracing ourselves for a season that will be mostly behind closed doors with a different set of economics obviously given the circumstances, but hopefully we will be able to have a very small fan attendance in the course of the summer. “I don’t have any of my own predictions but looking at the way the pandemic has been developing and fluctuating, and being more in control in Europe, for me it looks like we may have to wait for a complete cycle, a complete winter, before we find some promotors who are prepared to take the economic risk to set up a race with grandstands with full attendance. “That’s why the main concern has been to protect the sport, Formula 1, for next year, when we think it will be all back to normal.” The Austrian Grand Prix will be the first race in Formula 1’s 70-year history to take place without spectators.

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