Masi fears COVID-19 complacency from F1

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes Racing Point PA

Toto Wolff has insisted that Mercedes’ plans to increase their stake in Aston Martin to 20% will make no difference to either company’s Formula 1 team.

Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has seen the first three rounds of 2020 go smoothly, but fears it could make the series “complacent”.

The redesigned 2020 Formula 1 season is now well underway – the Red Bull Ring kicked things off by hosting the Austrian Grand Prix and the Styrian Grand Prix, before heading to the Hungaroring for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The scenes in Melbourne back in March, where this season was originally meant to start, proved more than enough to prompt the F1 bosses into piecing together detailed safety plans for personnel in the paddock once the season did get underway.

And so far those precautions have worked very well indeed, but as the sport takes a weekend off before the British Grand Prix, Masi has warned that Formula 1 cannot make the mistake of thinking it is “invincible”.

“There’s certainly a level of confidence,” Masi is quoted by GPFans.

“I think one part which is not to be complacent, is probably the big part, and the fact that we have got through three events with only the two cases, but effectively outside of the paddock.

“One thing that we all need to be conscious of is that Covid-19 is very much around us and everywhere globally.

“We can’t just drop the ball, getting to Silverstone and thinking we’re invincible. My biggest fear is people becoming complacent, and we just need to stick with the process we’ve developed.”

Formula 1 wasn’t afforded the luxury of observing how other sports went about protecting its stars from the virus, since it was the first global sport to return to action.

But with little tweaks along the way, Masi thinks the series has got their approach almost spot on.

“It has been a learning experience for all of us,” he admitted.

“There’s been minor tweaks along the way, but overall, as a process and a structure, I think we’re about there, so I’m proud of what we’ve done.”

Teams are required to operate in their own “bubbles”, but in the early rounds Formula 1 has been forced to slap a few wrists.

Warnings were handed out in Austria after Sebastian Vettel went to pay his former team Red Bull a visit in the paddock.

Also Valtteri Bottas and Charles Leclerc returned to Monaco between the Austrian Grand Prix and the Styrian Grand Prix, though neither were sanctioned since they abided by the rules that have been put in place.

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