Szafnauer: This is an unprecedented situation

In its bid to salvage the 2020 season, F1 is looking to give the calendar a major overhaul as Chase Carey still targets between 15 and 18 races.

In anticipation of a hectic summer, the sport has already brought forward the summer break, including the mandatory shutdowns, albeit extended from two to three weeks.

As Racing Point begins its three week closure, team boss Otmar Szafnauer looks at the huge task facing his team and the sport in the coming months.

“Our first concern at a time like this is the physical and mental wellbeing of our team-mates, their families and friends,” he says. “We have everybody back home in the UK now and adjusting to this new reality – but it’s certainly not easy for anybody.

“We’re obviously disappointed not to be able to race for the foreseeable future but, ultimately, we all understand the significance of the situation. The challenges the world is currently facing are unlike anything I’ve known in my lifetime and clearly transcend the sport, so the decisions that have been made are the correct ones.

“In light of the latest guidance from the UK Government we shut down on Wednesday evening,” he confirms, “our doors will be closed for at least three weeks.

“As things currently stand – and it’s important to stress that this is a constantly evolving situation – we’ll be returning to work on Thursday 16 April. We’ve also worked extremely hard over the last few weeks to ensure that all staff who can work from home have the equipment they need to set up home offices.

“This is an unprecedented situation,” he admits, “one that is changing by the day. Right now, we simply cannot say with any degree of certainty when we’ll be back to normal. There are so many factors that are not under our control.

“With that in mind, another decision taken between the teams and the FIA has been to delay the introduction of the new regulations until 2022. From both a logistical and a cost perspective, this makes absolute sense.

“Of course, that doesn’t mean we can afford to take it easy when we return to work. When we do eventually get back on track, we need to be in a position to compete – whatever the regulations. There’s still plenty of work ahead and we’ll be ready to tackle it when the time comes.

“On behalf of everybody in the team, I’d like to thank our fans for their support at this challenging time,” he concludes. “I’d also like to recognise the commitment and positivity of our commercial partners.

“As soon as it is safe to do so, we will get back to the racing. In the meantime, there are some excellent efforts going on with Esports and our drivers will be involved in those online events in the weeks ahead.

“My final thought is to reinforce the government’s advice to stay at home and act responsibly; the more we all follow the guidelines, the quicker we will be back racing. It’s important we all stay united through these unusual times and stay safe and healthy.”