FIA extends F1 shutdown by four weeks

Curtailed season
The F1 season is expected to start in Austria in July. File photo: IANS

Paris: The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has announced that the shutdown period for Formula One (F1) drivers has been extended from 35 to 63 consecutive days in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has so far claimed more than two lakh lives worldwide.

In a statement, FIA said: "The World Motor Sport Council has approved a further extension to the shutdown period for competitors and Power Unit manufacturers in the FIA Formula One World Championship in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."

"All competitors must now observe a shutdown period increased from 35 to 63 consecutive days during the months of March, April, May and/or June. 50 days after the start of their shutdown period, upon application by a competitor, and subject to the prior written approval of the FIA, each competitor may use the services of a maximum of ten personnel to work remotely on long lead time projects," it added.

F1 bosses are hoping to have a shortened season, starting with the Austrian GP in July, after the French Grand Prix was called off on Monday, becoming the 10th race on the calendar affected by the pandemic.

As per a BBC Sport report, F1 boss Chase Carey said he was "increasingly confident with the progress of plans to begin the season this summer".

He said the first race was expected to take place in Austria from July 3 to 5.

"September, October and November, would see us race in Eurasia, Asia and the Americas, finishing the season in the Gulf in December, with Bahrain before the traditional finale in Abu Dhabi, having completed between 15 and 18 races. We will publish our finalised calendar as soon as we possibly can."