SportF1New restrictions threaten F1's 2022 calendar

New restrictions threaten F1's 2022 calendar

F1 has managed to successfully complete its 22 grands prix this year after juggling the calendar to replace races canceled due to coronavirus.

The easing of restrictions in recent months, especially in regards to the UK red zones which affected F1 staff having to return to factories and their homes, helped pave the way for the season to end. outside of Europe, first in America and then in the Middle East .

However, the appearance of the Omicron variant in recent weeks has prompted countries to reinstate some restrictions.

While it is true that no F1 host country is currently on the UK red list, that could change as the situation develops.

Meanwhile, entry to Australia, which hosts F1 in Melbourne in April, remains strictly controlled, with all visitors required to undergo 14-day hotel quarantines.

“I’d be lying if I said I’m not a little worried, I am,” said F1 sporting director Steve Nielsen , when asked by Motorsport.com if he was worried about the return of restrictions.

“Because, as you’ve rightly pointed out, the optimism that we maybe had a couple of months ago that the pandemic was receding has kind of stifled a little bit in the last two or three weeks.”

“So it’s an ever-changing situation. From the beginning, this has gone up and down, depending on what area of the world you’re targeting. And we’ve had to tiptoe around to avoid those changing infection rates and try to fit our calendar.

“I think the only thing going for us is obviously that in 2020 the pandemic was new to every country. And now, while it’s still a terrible thing, the world is gradually learning to live with it.”

“So after some of the more severe restrictions we saw last year and in the early part of this year, countries are putting stronger protocols in place and learning to live with the virus.”

“Which will hopefully mean that they will be able to continue to welcome international visitors, which is important and which we need in order to be able to take our championship everywhere. So we’re nervous about that.”

“I’m pretty sure we can stick to the schedule we have planned, but we’ll monitor it and react if necessary.”

Asked if F1 already has a Plan B with alternative venues in the pipeline, such as Portimao, Nielsen insisted that the focus remains on the current calendar.

“Honestly, we’re on Plan A. And we’re not looking at alternatives to Plan A. If we have to, and because things change, we will. But that’s a long way off right now.”

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