McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says he has a “different view” to the critics, that being that F1 is right to make its comeback.
The 2020 season was due to get underway all the way back in March with the traditional season-opening Australian Grand Prix, but after its cancellation the sport went into an extended break.
Come Friday though that break will be over when the cars roll out onto the Red Bull Ring for Free Practice 1 ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.
It is the first of eight races that have been confirmed so far for 2020 in what will certainly be a new-look Formula 1.
And Brown believes it’s absolutely the right time for Formula 1 to be returning, and is more than ready to defend it against any critics.
Speaking in an open letter published on the McLaren website, he said: “After what has felt like a never-ending wait, F1 finally returns this weekend – 126 days since the chequered flag fell on pre-season testing. Who could have predicted the events that followed? A global pandemic? Entire nations brought to a standstill? The F1 season stopped before it had barely begun?
“As racers we are relieved and excited by the prospect of F1 roaring into life, but we should not shield ourselves from reality.
“Over the course of last year’s Austrian Grand Prix weekend, the attendance was 203,000 people. It pales in comparison to the more than half a million people who, as of Tuesday, have died from covid-19. Even the British Grand Prix – the best-attended race of 2019 – with its tally of 351,000, doesn’t come close to this figure.
“Critics may argue that now is not the time to go back racing. I have a different view. Huge sacrifice has been made to get this far, but let’s not forget what we have sacrificed for.
“To live. F1, like so many sports, brings joy to many millions of people around the world.
“Steve McQueen famously said: “Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.” And we have waited. Whichever team someone supports, we are united by our passion for racing. Its capacity to stir the soul is unique. Its ability to shine a light on how far we’ve come and how far we can still go, has no limit.
“For now, F1 will return behind closed doors, but remember to open your hearts and minds to the magic of it all. We have waited for this moment and it is finally here.
“Friends, fans and fellow racers, now we race as one.”