Despite the current pandemic the motorsport world has continued to operate whether it be with virtual events, driver and rider moves or other attention grabbing headlines. Here I go through just a few of the things that have been happening in recent weeks and months.
Watching the 2020 IndyCar opener was my first experience of what motorsport is like in the ‘COVID era’ which meant being presented images of team personnel and media donning masks or other makeshift face coverings. To add to that was watching how interviews were conducted with drivers and other team personnel by the media with the need to obviously attempt to adhere to social distancing.Embed from Getty Images
Then there is of course the empty grandstands during the event and therefore also a very muted atmosphere during the race and afterwards where normally there would be either gasps, cheers or applause at the action on track and the winner celebrating in victory lane. It was good nonetheless to have live IndyCar racing back with the next round of the championship due to be held on 4 July.
IndyCar is one of several racing series to have already got back underway with Formula 1, MotoGP, Formula E and Super Formula set to resume over the next couple of months after officially announcing revised 2020 calendars. It is exciting to take the revised schedules as a sign of live motor racing resuming, however there is also caution to see how each series handle any problems, such as the announcement of someone testing positive for COVID-19 during a race weekend or slip-ups in adhering to any protocols that have been introduced.
To add to the excitement of just having some live racing to watch is the impact the revised calendars will have on any championship fight or other battles throughout the field. The reduced number of events mean that teams will need to maximise every weekend and ensure they don’t have a ‘bad’ weekend as the ability to recover is hindered to a certain extent by the reduced schedule. In the case of Formula E the six races that are due to be held within nine days could be a big factor in deciding the final championship order in the Drivers’ and Teams’ championships.Embed from Getty Images
Included in the 2020 schedules talk there has been the rumours relating to Formula 1 potentially competing at venues such as Imola or seeing the revival of ‘old’ Grand Prix like the Portuguese Grand Prix, not to forget the rumours surrounding Formula 1 potentially hosting races at Mugello. I personally would welcome the inclusion of one or all three of these events, even if it is ultimately just for the 2020 season.
These rumours about other venues feed into the need for teams, especially those competing in MotoGP and Formula 1, to maximise every race weekend as mentioned earlier. Not only is there a currently reduced schedule but there is the added problem of not knowing for certain exactly how long the 2020 season will be as work continues to confirm further venues or fix dates for proposed venues, such as the case for MotoGP’s four flyaway races after the 13 European races. This has the potential to add to the on track entertainment and add intrigue to any battles taking place throughout the championship.
It’s not just the premier motorsport series that I am looking forward to as their resumption will also see the return of support series such as Moto2, Moto3 and MotoE in MotoGP’s case and Formula 3 and Formula 2 supporting Formula 1. All of which is set to add even more entertainment.
It is also that at times the support series named above have the capacity to provide the biggest entertainment during a race weekend, therefore having them also return to action is more than welcoming.
The 2021 Driver and Rider Market
There has also been the driver and rider moves throughout the last couple of months in both Formula 1 and MotoGP. A flurry of key deals were announced in Formula 1, started off by Sebastian Vettel’s announcement that he would leave Ferrari at the end of 2020, which led to Carlos Sainz being confirmed as his replacement with Daniel Ricciardo filling Sainz’s vacated seat at McLaren.Embed from Getty Images
In MotoGP there was the announcement that Jack Miller would be moving from Pramac into the factory Ducati team which led to Danilo Petrucci confirming he would be leaving Ducati.
There is also anticipation building of what the next moves in both series are in relation to where drivers and riders will be in 2021. The focus in Formula 1 is now in part on Renault after they failed to re-sign Daniel Ricciardo for beyond 2020 as Vettel and Fernando Alonso were almost immediately linked with the French team. In MotoGP there is a lot of anticipation over Pol Espargaro’s future whose 2021 plans, as of writing, are not yet confirmed which could set off another round of rider moves which could potentially involve Petrucci.
For Formula 1 perhaps a big story has been the announcement from Williams that they are seeking to sell part or the whole of the team. I personally am unsure exactly how momentous this move will end up being as from the statement released by Williams it felt that there could be anything from widespread change to very little change.
Either way it has been interesting to see others analysis of the Williams team, covering the 1990s to the present day, in the wake of the announcement as many pour over what moments in its history has led to it being in the position it currently finds itself in.
Added to all of this has been the announcement that the team’s sponsorship with ROKiT has been terminated, which will lead to the Williams cars being in a different livery to that which was seen during testing.
The F1 2020 Game
Lastly there is my anticipation for the latest game in Codemasters F1 series which has been heightened somewhat after the release of its My Team trailer. There is also the possibility to sample some of the cars that Michael Schumacher drove during his illustrious career.
There is then of course getting to experience any new features in the game such as the tweaks made to the 2020 version of the Career Mode as well as hopefully getting immersed into the new My Team mode.