The Formula 1 motor-racing series has postponed events in the Netherlands and Spain and cancelled the Monaco Grand Prix altogether due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has also led to a delay in the implementation of new technical regulations in the sport.
The Dutch Grand Prix had been due to take place at Zandvoort from May 1-3 in what would have marked the event’s return to the calendar for the first time since 1985. The Spanish race was scheduled for Barcelona the following week.
The Monaco Grand Prix had been due to run from May 21-24. F1 initially announced that the race had been postponed along with the Dutch and Spanish grands prix but it was eventually cancelled altogether after the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) said the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has made the race “no longer tenable”.
The Monaco Grand Prix has been held every year since 1955, having first taken place in 1929.
In a statement, the ACM said: “The current situation concerning the worldwide pandemic and its unknown path of evolution, the lack of understanding as to the impact on the FIA F1 World Championship 2020, the uncertainty with regards to the participation of the teams, the consequences with regards to the differing measures of confinement as taken by various governments worldwide, the multi-border restrictions for accessing the Principality of Monaco, the pressure on all implicated businesses, their dedicated staff who are unable to undertake the necessary installations, the availability of the indispensable workforce and volunteers (more than 1500) required for the success of the event means that the situation is no longer tenable.”
The latest postponements come following the cancellation of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and the postponement of races in China, Bahrain and Vietnam. It means the 2020 season will not start until June at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), F1 and all 10 teams have unanimously agreed to delay the introduction of the sport’s 2021 technical regulations by a year to 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
F1 said that it hopes the delay will ease the financial burden on teams at a time when income may be reduced due to race postponements.
The Autosport website reported that Ferrari did not initially agree to the delay but eventually came around to the decision.
As a result, teams will use their current chassis in 2021 before developing their cars to the new rules for 2021.
The FIA said in a statement: “Due to the currently volatile financial situation this has created, it has been agreed that teams will use their 2020 chassis for 2021, with the potential freezing of further components to be discussed in due course.
“The introduction and implementation of the financial regulations will go ahead as planned in 2021, and discussions remain ongoing between the FIA, Formula 1 and all teams regarding further ways to make significant cost savings.”