Racing flag waving for MotoGP and Formula One

Formula One and MotoGP in the Time of Covid-19

By Bianka Pretorius

The year has thrown quite a few surprises our way and has seen us change to what we consider a “new normal” way of life. Masks have now become part of the essential items we need when leaving the house. It’s no longer just frantically patting our pockets down checking for our keys and wallets as we step out the front door. As the world has adjusted to this “new normal”, entertainment such as live sports has been allowed to return. We as spectators have seen and heard about some of the new adjustments that the members of our sporting community have had to endure when returning back to their “new normal” work lives.

Here are two sports that have had to adjust to the “new normal”:

Formula One

Formula One is the highest class of international single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

The season usually starts around the end of March with the Bahrain Grand Prix and then ends around the last weekend of November at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The fans usually flood the grandstands for all 21 races.

But this year spectators all eagerly waited for the lights to go out for the first race of the season at the Spielberg Grand Prix on the 5th July 2020. With only 17 races this year the final race will be on the 13th December 2020 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. For the first eight races of the Formula One Grand Prix, the stands were empty and there was barely a bustle of people around the pitlane. Everyone who was seen had a mask on.

As part of the new Covid-19 protocol, teams use private testing. Any personnel attending a race are tested for Covid-19 before travelling and must produce a negative Covid-19 test before entering the track. Personnel are then tested every five days along with extra screening measures. As of the 10th September 2020, 5589 tests have been conducted by the FIA and Formula One teams.

Furthermore, 2 880 fans attended the Tuscan Grand Prix on the 13th of September 2020, and more are expected to attend in the races to come.

As of the 13th September 2020, the championship standings for Formula One are as follows:

  1. Lewis Hamilton with 190 points
  2. Valtteri Bottas with 135 points
  3. Max Verstappen with 110 points
Read more at:

https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/151772/tuscan-gp-to-be-first-f1-race-to-host-fans-in-2020

https://www.fia.com/news/f1-statement-covid-19-testing-9#:~:text=The%20FIA%20and%20Formula%201,on%20drivers%2C%20teams%20and%20personnel.

https://www.formula1.com/

MotoGP

Grand Prix motorcycle racing is the premier class of motorcycle road racing events held on road circuits and it is sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM).

The season started off on the 19th of July 2020 at the Spanish Grand Prix. We will see it finish at the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal on the 22nd of November 2020. The usual 19-race weekends were cut down to just 13 this year with the races beginning almost four months later than previously anticipated.

Just like the Formula One races, fans weren’t allowed to attend until recently. At the Misano MotoGP in Italy, roughly 10 000 fans were scattered around the grandstands on the 13th of September to support their favourite riders from each of the various motorbike classes.

The Covid-19 protocols for MotoGP as it has been outlined by the Medical Director, Dr Angel Charte, are as follows:

  • Do a Covid-19 test five days before the event
  • Self-isolation for five days (after doing the test until the event)
  • There will be random testing, if necessary, at the circuit
  • Use of PPE by all personnel whilst travelling to the circuit and at the circuit
  • Use of facemasks at all times when possible, encourage handwashing/hygiene guidelines
  • Isolating personnel into groups, including riders on the same team – each rider will have their pre-defined team – and they won’t be able to mix
  • Follow social distancing guidelines
  • Tracking data using an app for the tests, daily check-ups and who’s in contact with whom
  • Daily medical check-ups for all 1200 members of the paddock to look out for possible symptoms
  • Medical staff to use PPE and Covid-19 safety measures just like any hospital in Spain/Europe
  • Anyone suspected of having the virus (showing symptoms) will be sent to a confined area of the medical centre for further examination
  • If there’s a high chance of it being Covid-19 they will be sent directly to a local hospital (which will be on standby) where further swab, antibody and lung function tests will be carried out
  • If the tests come back negative the person will return to the circuit and be treated in the medical centre
  • If the tests come back positive for coronavirus they will be confined to the hospital or an assigned hotel under MotoGP™ medical direction control.

As of the 13th September 2020, the championship standings for MotoGP are as follows:

  1. Andrea Dovizioso with 76 points
  2. Fabio Quartararo with 70 points
  3. Jack Miller with 64 points
Read more at:

https://www.motogp.com/

https://www.autosport.com/motogp/news/151331/misano-motogp-rounds-to-be-first-with-fans-in-2020#:~:text=The%20San%20Marino%20and%20Emilia,the%20first%20time%20this%20season.

https://www.motogp.com/en/news/2020/06/16/motogp-s-covid-19-protocol-the-key-points/331807

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