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  • COVID-19 update: Monaco cancelled, Le Mans suspended

    Monaco Grand Prix

    COVID-19 - otherwise known as coronavirus - continues to have an adverse effect on world motorsport.

    With several championship seasons already delayed, more races and events have been postponed in response to the pandemic outbreak of COVID-19. Several manufacturers have also suspended production at factories in response to the ongoing situation.

    Here’s what we know so far:

    COVID-19 sees Monaco Grand Prix cancelled

    COVID-19 cancels Monaco GP

    Formula 1 has taken measures to cancel the Monaco Grand Prix, while the Dutch, Spanish and Azerbaijan Grands Prix are on hold for now.

    It means the Monaco Grand Prix will not go ahead for the first time since 1954.

    The first four races of the 2020 F1 season – Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam and China – were already postponed due to COVID-19. June appears to be the earliest time the season will restart. F1 and the FIA are closely monitoring the situation.

    An F1 statement said: “Due to the ongoing and fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation globally, Formula 1, the FIA and the three promoters have taken these decisions in order to ensure the health and safety of the travelling staff, championship participants and fans, which remains our primary concern.”

    As a result of COVID-19, F1 teams and organizers have agreed unanimously to bring forward the summer shutdown. The break usually occurs in August but will now take place across March and April. It has been extended to three weeks instead of two.

    Teams will now decide the three-week period they will shut their factories down.

    F1 bosses have also agreed to delay the proposed 2021 rule changes until the 2022 season. The decision came following unanimous backing by teams. All teams accepted the need to be flexible with the race calendar once the season commences.

    Le Mans 24 Hours rescheduled due to COVID-19

    Le Mans 24 Hours

    The Le Mans 24 Hours has also fallen victim to COVID-19 and has been rescheduled for September. Originally slated for June 13-14, the famous endurance race will now take place on September 19-20.

    Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, said: “First and foremost, I urge everyone to avoid putting themselves, their loved ones and others at risk. The most important thing today is to curtail the spread of this virus. Our thoughts go out to medical staff working relentlessly for the sake of us all.”

    The postponement of Le Mans due to COVID-19 will also have a further effect on several other European series. Several races will have to be moved to accommodate.

    IndyCar hopeful Indy500 will take place

    IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway are hoping the Indy 500 (scheduled for May 24) and Indianapolis road course event (May 9) will go ahead.

    Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the first four rounds of IndyCar’s 2020 season were cancelled. The opening round at St Petersburg was postponed on the eve of the race. Races at Barber Motorsports Park (Alabama), Long Beach (California) and Circuit of the Americas (Texas) soon followed.  

    A joint statement released by IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway said: “We are aware of the CDC’s interim guidance suggesting the postponement of events involving more than 50 people over the next eight weeks.”

    “Our priority is to do our part in protecting the public health while still conducting the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge as scheduled on May 24. This continues to be a dynamic situation which we are monitoring constantly in coordination with federal, state, local and public health officials."

    NASCAR has also postponed all races through May 3, but intends to hold all 36 races in the 2020 season.

    Manufacturers ceasing production amid COVID-19 outbreak

    COVID-19 halts car production
    Porsche AG am 05.12.2018 in Stuttgart

    Several marques are temporarily suspending production in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Italian manufacturers Lamborghini and Ferrari have temporary halted production of cars. Italy has been one of the worst-hit countries by the virus.

    Ferrari has suspended production at its Maranello and Modena plants until at least March 27. Lamborghini has closed its Bologna-based factory until March 25.

    Porsche will shut down its Zuffenhausen and Leipzig plants from March 21 for two weeks. Ford and General Motors, based in the United States, will temporarily shut down for two weeks. This is to protect workers and undergo deep cleans on its facilities.

    BMW, Daimler (which owns Mercedes-Benz brand) and several big road car manufacturers across Europe have also closed doors.

    All manufacturers are citing a bottleneck effect on supply chains, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

    It’s not all doom and gloom…

    While the effects of COVID-19 are frustrating, many in motorsport are staying positive.

    Several drivers are keeping themselves entertained in self-isolation by taking on the toilet roll challenge. Renault F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo’s effort was fantastic:

    McLaren driver Lando Norris had a moment to forget during a live e-racing of the Australian Grand Prix. Norris, who says he will be streaming live on Twitch more in the coming weeks, missed the formation lap of the race:

    Finally, with all the negativity surrounding COVID-19, the esteemed Aston Martin Valkyrie was spotted on UK public roads for the first time.

    It looks amazing! The Valkyrie is a joint-project by Aston Martin and Red Bull, designed by F1 legend Adrian Newey. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen described the new Valkyrie as “insane” after he recently got a sneak preview.

    Aston Martin Valkyrie

    It’s just the image we need after the madness of COVID-19.

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