F1 summer shutdown brought forward, extended

LONDON: Formula 1's summer shutdown period has been brought forward and extended in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The break, which is usually two weeks in August when the teams must cease all race and car-related activity for the full fortnight, has been moved to March and April.

And while the shutdown normally lasts two weeks, the revised break will this year extend to 21 days.

A statement from the sport's governing body the FIA said: "In light of the global impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus currently affecting the organisation of FIA Formula One World Championship events, the World Motor Sport Council has approved a change to the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, moving the summer shutdown period from July and August to March and April and extending it from 14 to 21 days.

"All competitors must therefore observe a shutdown period of 21 consecutive days during the months of March and/or April.

"The change was supported unanimously by both the F1 Strategy Group and F1 Commission."

Red Bull said they supported the decision to move the shutdown, and said in a statement: "As a Team we currently plan to shutdown on 27th March for a three week period, however due to the ever changing nature of the pandemic there may be some flexibility around these dates.

"Whilst we would all love to return to racing, the severity of this global pandemic is changing by the hour and the impact transcends our sport. We therefore agree with the measures being taken to reduce the risk of transmission and will support any further race postponements that are deemed necessary."

The team said they would be taking "extra precautions" to protect their workforce, and added: "our well wishes go to our McLaren and Pirelli colleagues recovering from the COVID-19 virus, as well as the McLaren team members currently quarantined in Australia."

Meanwhile Alfa Romeo announced they would be shutting down between March 23rd and April 13th, and Ferrari confirmed they would officially be closed from March 19th up to April 8th.