Szafnauer predicts ‘strange’ start to 2020

Date published: June 8 2020

Sergio Perez Racing Point RP20

Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer says it is going to “feel strange” getting ready for the first race of the 2020 season after such a long lay-off.

Last week Formula 1 announced the schedule for the European leg of the championship with the 2020 season beginning with a double-header at the Red Bull Ring.

The first race will take place more than three months after the original start to the season was cancelled when McLaren withdrew from the Australian Grand Prix.

The teams are going to have to adapt to a new way of life with regular testing, social distancing and racing in front of empty grandstands.

“I think it’s going to feel strange for all of us to be getting on an airplane, flying to a different country and heading to a racetrack after such a long time away,” Szafnauer told Racer.

“The set up when we get to the paddock will feel very different too initially, I’m sure – but just as we’ve all adapted to this new normality at home, I’m confident we’ll do so on the road.

“The processes and procedures we’ve implemented to keep everybody safe at the factory will apply just as stringently, if not more so, at the racetrack, so we’re in the best shape we can be.”

Szafnauer added that Racing Point is happy with Formula 1 plans to go racing in as safe an environment as possible.

“First and foremost, on a personal level and on behalf of the team, I applaud the work that has been done by all stakeholders over the past three months to get us back racing,” he said.

“Safety is paramount and we’re all treating our return to the racetrack responsibly.

“While clearly it won’t be the same without the fans in the grandstands – and we’ll sorely miss their enthusiasm and support – it’s entirely sensible to start the season behind closed doors. Doing so in Austria is particularly positive for us as a team given our ties to the country with BWT, so we’re very much looking forward to it.

“It’s going to be an intense few months for us all. But a great deal of thought has gone into this calendar from all relevant stakeholders – including the teams, Formula 1, the FIA, the circuit owners and so on.

“We’re all in agreement that the proposed plan is manageable and, knowing what I know of our team, they’ll relish the challenge. At the end of the day, we’re all racers. This is our passion, and we’re excited to get back to it.”

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