The F1 stars will take back-of-the-box races, says driver Wars

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Retrieved 23 May 2020, 17:08 IST

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The Formula One season is coming soon

Formula One drivers will endure a ‘ghost race’ in front of empty grandparents this season, eliminating an “obligation” to sport.

Alex Warz, chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers Association, gave the message, although no one on the paddock would enjoy racing without spectators.

It is, of course, during the coronavirus crisis, that Formula One is returning with races held in circuits that will be as biosecure as possible.

The late season is expected to begin in Austria, with the first race on 5 July.

Austrian Warge, who has driven for Benetton and Williams in his Formula One career, insists the situation is far from ideal but will be embraced because it is possible to achieve now.

He told Sky Sports: “Let me tell you – I think there’s nobody in motor sports, no drivers, and personally I’m definitely not a fan of ghost races. Because we’ve survived the emotions we’ve shared together.

“A football match, or athletics, they have a stadium, we have a race track and we have 100,000 spectators who have shared this great event together and it makes a big difference in your feelings.

“However, all the drivers I’ve talked to and I’m in constant discussion with, no one has said ‘no, I don’t want to do it’, or ‘I think it’s the wrong thing to do.’

“It’s the right thing to do because we have an obligation to our industry.

“Motorsport, Formula One, a global industry, and like every government in the world, we are all trying to benefit from this industry, the economy, because people’s families and mortgages depend on it. And in Formula One, it’s the same.

“So if the ghost race is waiting for our fan-present races, it’s a means to get us back on track before then. So we’re looking for ghost races, and all the riders embrace it perfectly.”

Warz says the F1 has been keeping a close eye on driver safety for many years, and protecting everyone involved in the Cowvide-19 threat is an extension of that.

And he promised that the sport would not revolve around countries where there is already severe pressure on treatment systems.

Looking at the case in Austria, he said: “There is no problem with medical, medical space, emergency units around the Red Bull Ring.

“Then we need to make sure that we are not crossing the virus between the industry and the hosting country. And similarly within our circuit we need to make sure that we have distance from each other and that we reduce the risk of moving forward.”