Crown manual, Verstappen attack, Mercedes in black. There is also the return of F1 – Korona manual, Verstappen’s attack, Mercedes in black. This is also the return of F1

“Imagine you had to explain this scene to your self-employed last year,” the team commented on the photo on social media.

Accurate. Last year, no one would have predicted that a coronavirus pandemic would allow the Formula 1 season to start on the first weekend in July. And with limitations unparalleled in 70-year history.

Ten weekends, eight starts

The engines of the new monopost models sounded for the first time at Friday’s practice before the Austrian Grand Prix (start on Sunday at 15.10, live Sport2).

One week later, the second event of the season will take place called the Grand Prix of Styria. In the same place – the Red Bull Ring. This is the first time that such a situation has occurred in F1. The Hungarian Hungaroring will end the portion of three racing weekends in a row.

This is what the introduction of the truncated calendar looks like, which is still not closed, only its summer, European part is confirmed. It consists of eight events crammed into ten weeks.

F1 chief Chase Carey confirmed on Thursday that the previously announced plan to leave the originally record 22 races 15 to 18 remains in force.

“It simply came to our notice then. In the coming weeks, we will announce the places to continue, ideally the complete second half of the calendar. We are closely monitoring the situation in the venues, “Carey said for the official website of the series.

He pointed to an increased number of coronavirus cases in the USA, Mexico and Brazil. European events will be without spectators, in the autumn, at most in November, but they could return to the stands.

“November is four months away, so the development is unpredictable. But we definitely have to plan now, “added Carey.

After criticism, an attack on records

It is certain that F1 will bypass Australia, Monaco, France, the Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan this year. The changed scenario of the year and the question of the inclusion of other circuits in the championship can speak to the championship fight.

“We have the longest break without a competitive start. Even if we have fewer events ahead of us, we will leave them in a much shorter period of time. We have to concentrate more on our performances, attack more intensely, but at the same time do not neglect regeneration.

The schedule is more of a challenge than ever before, “said reigning champion Lewis Hamilton in a video of Petronas, his team’s sponsor.

The sovereign of recent years can win the seventh title of world champion, which would equal the record of Michael Schumacher.

But that’s not all. Only seven victories separate him from his next maximum. The German legend said goodbye to the prestigious carousel with 91 outbound triumphs on the outside.

Hamilton has come under the scrutiny of the media in recent months. He spoke of promoting racist patterns of Formula One behavior, criticizing its leadership for the delayed response to the death of African-American Georg Floyd.

The only dark-skinned rider in the championship has announced the creation of a commission to promote racial diversity.

Under the influence of these events, the championship will be marked by the We Race As One campaign.

Author: SITA / AP, Joe Klamar

Mercedes, Hamilton’s employer, also joined the promotion of diversity, the fight against racism and discrimination. He exchanged the silver version of the monopost for black this week.

It does not lack a rainbow motif or the inscription End Racism. Hamilton and his colleague Valtteri Bottas also presented black overalls and a new helmet helmet.

A predatory Dutchman on the throne?

Ferrari and Red Bull drivers should again be the biggest rivals of this season of “black arrows”. Mercedes want to break not only the string of riding, but also design titles. Both have been running since the 2014 season.

Still, only 22-year-old Red Bull star Max Verstappen announces a package of improvements. All indications are that, thanks to them, the Mercedes will be the biggest competitor. He also plays the place of the first two races for the Dutchman, as he won last year and the pre-race in Austria.

“We are clearly in a good position. However, we have to confirm this on the track, we basically only draw from the data in the winter tests. My goal is always the same – to drive as best as possible. Of course, in the shortened form of the season, you can pay more for each mistake than ever before, “Verstappen told the media in Austria.

He also admitted that he would miss the Orange Army in the stands, his numerous fan club, whose support, especially in Spielberg, was one of the decorations of previous years.

In Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel will make his last season, making more mistakes last year and pulling for the shorter end of the rope with his ambitious colleague Charles Leclerc. An experienced German, who still won four championship titles in the colors of Red Bull, did not extend the contract with the team.

It was said that the problem was in the money, Vettel was said to have been offered a much lower salary than before. The native of Heppenheim denied this and, after arriving in Austria, was surprised by the reaction to the situation.

“Mattia (Binotto, head of Ferrari, note) called me and said that he was not interested in further cooperation. We never got into discussions, there was no offer on the table, there was no contact point, “Vettel said. His steps after the year are not yet known. He emphasized that he did not lack motivation, but was looking for the right opportunity.

Bubbles in a bubble

Regarding the announced measures to combat COVID-19, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) has prepared a 73-page manual for pilots, teams and other Grand Prize participants called Back to Race.

All participants must have negative tests that are repeated every five days or whenever someone shows symptoms. It is mandatory for everyone to wear drapes, the observance of the spacing will be checked, the number of people in the teams before the starts will be reduced.

“Our stable works as if it were in a bubble and we create another one within it. We will do what we have to do to ensure safety,” promised Ferrari sports director Laurent Mekies.

Not only his stable must plan the work on the monopost so that there are as few people as possible at one time. This can cause a problem in the event of an accident or engine replacement.

Stressful situations or the case where mechanics fail to prepare a monopost for qualification, for example, are therefore real threats.

There will be traditional stage celebrations with champagne and anthems. Large motorhomes serving as facilities for teams, riders, their guests or journalists have replaced tents and shelters.

This will also increase the space in the garage. In the case of one or more positive tests, they will not cancel the race. This will send the infected person (including the pilot) to quarantine and replace him with another.