The Red Bull Formula One team has released a statement backing the FIA’s decision to bring forward the sport’s annual factory shutdown.
Traditionally, the FIA mandates a two week factory shutdown during the sport’s summer break in August, but the sport faces a challenge in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The F1 season’s opening four races have all been postponed and there is talk other races may follow. The season opener in Australia last weekend was cancelled after a McLaren crew member tested positive for the virus, with a Pirelli team member also testing positive a few days later.
F1 has also postponed its Bahrain and Vietnam events, and had cancelled its planned Chinese Grand Prix before testing. Speculation has also suggested there is likely to be rescheduling or cancellation of the following Dutch, Spanish and Monaco Grand Prix events.
As a result, the FIA has announced they will now be enforcing an early shutdown of the team’s factories for Formula One activity at the request of the sport’s organisers and teams. All 10 of F1’s teams backed the proposal to change the schedule.
The move will see the break brought forward and extended from 14 to 21 days, while it will also allow rescheduled races to happen during August if that can be possible. The owners of F1 recently said they do not see the ability to hold races before late May, while others are speculating it may take longer before racing can resume.
Red Bull will therefore plan to close down its Milton Keynes factory for F1 activity for 3 weeks from March 27th. A statement has been released by the team endorsing the switch.
They said, “In light of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing is in support of the decision taken by Formula One and the FIA to bring forward the annual shutdown from August to March / April 2020 and extend it to 21 days.
“As a Team we currently plan to shutdown on 27th March for a three week period, however due to the ever changing nature of the pandemic there may be some flexibility around these dates. Whilst we would all love to return to racing, the severity of this global pandemic is changing by the hour and the impact transcends our sport.
“We therefore agree with the measures being taken to reduce the risk of transmission and will support any further race postponements that are deemed necessary. The health, safety and wellbeing of our Team, guests, fans and the local communities we visit are our absolute priority and we are taking every possible precaution to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“As such, we will also be taking extra precautions as a Team to protect our workforce while they are in the factory by implementing special working measures, guided by the UK Government and medical professionals.
“We share the disappointment of our fans and partners that purchased tickets to attend this year’s postponed Grands Prix and our well wishes go to our McLaren and Pirelli colleagues recovering from the COVID-19 virus, as well as the McLaren team members currently quarantined in Australia.”