(GMM) The rest of this year’s makeshift Formula 1 calendar is in “the hands of the national authorities”.
That is the view of Toto Wolff (not wearing a mask above), whose Mercedes team on Sunday wrapped up the constructors’ championship at Imola – one of the stand-in events for the permanent races that had to be cancelled this year for the pandemic.
And now as coronavirus infections grow in Europe and elsewhere and countries react with new lockdowns and restrictions, the next races are scheduled to take place in Turkey, Bahrain (two races) and Abu Dhabi.
Wolff thinks Formula 1 can cope.
“We’ve stayed in our bubbles, had very few cases, and we are not a risk,” he insists, according to Osterreich newspaper.
“We are probably one of the safest groups of people out there.”
However, he admitted that whether Formula 1 can complete its 2020 season is actually “in the hands of the health authorities to decide whether motorsport is approved, and we can travel”.
Even the UK, where most of the teams are based, is going into a new lockdown.
“It will definitely affect our lives, but we will find a way to deal with it,” Wolff insisted.
Now eight months into the global pandemic, opinions are split between those who want to remain cautious and others who crave the return of ‘normal’ life.
One reporter even asked FIA race director Michael Masi on Sunday if he thought Lewis Hamilton drinking champagne out of Daniel Ricciardo’s shoe – a “shoey” – was appropriate.
“I must say that I haven’t looked into that in detail at all,” he answered.
Masi was also asked if Formula 1 should rethink its approach as new reports indicate the health effects of Covid-19 could in some cases be life-long.
“I think it’s inappropriate for the race director to answer such a question as I am not a health expert,” said the Australian.
“The FIA and Formula 1 will continue the work that we have been doing all season in developing a set of measures that allowed the resumption of racing.
“We will continue to work with authorities, promoters and national auto clubs, among others, to ensure that a safe environment for everyone is a priority,” added Masi.