F1 break 'brought forward' as teams begin coronavirus quarantine period

Image: TeamTalk
Image: TeamTalk

F1 team staff arriving back in Europe from Australia are now heading into a two-week quarantine period.

For that reason, while talks about the races in Barcelona, Zandvoort and Monaco continue, the sport had no choice other than to officially postpone Bahrain and Vietnam.

"The teams and employees must now go into quarantine, in some cases until the end of March," former F1 driver Christian Danner told RTL.

"So it is clear that the season can start at the beginning, middle or maybe even the end of May, depending on how the coronavirus situation changes globally."

Bahrain Grand Prix is the third race in a day to be scrapped over coronavirus

Spain's Marca newspaper said McLaren driver Carlos Sainz is serving his quarantine period at home.  Back in Australia, 14 of his team mates are in quarantine there and one has F1's sole confirmed infection.

"Flying out of Melbourne turned out to be easy," Racing Point team manager Andy Stevenson told Auto Motor und Sport.  "The planes are only half full.

"Our team will be quarantined until the end of March, although we call it a special vacation - it sounds better," he joked.

Most other teams are doing the same thing, treating the post-Australia quarantine period the same as they would the August summer break.

"Work will only start again on March 30," Alfa Romeo team manager Beat Zehnder confirmed.

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko commented: "We are simply bringing the summer break forward.  Then we should do a very intense season from Baku.

"Development work for 2020 and 2021 will continue as normal.  The gates are not closed," he added.

Zehnder, though, said it will not be as easy as Marko suggests to organise an "intense season" for the second part of the season.

"We can easily get to Spain and Holland," he said.  "But it's not so easy to put an overseas race between two others."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
How should Haas' new driver Nikita Mazepin be punished for his awful behaviour?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
He should be removed from the team
49% - 346 votes
The FIA should give him a hefty fine.
12% - 85 votes
Won't matter, Dad's money will always save him.
39% - 274 votes
Vote