Calendar 2022: New COVID restrictions worry
Formula 1 has successfully handled 22 events this year, after manipulating once again with some events canceled due to the pandemic.
The easing of restrictions in recent months, particularly on the British red lists, which has had the effect of returning teams to base, has helped pave the way for the return of non-European travel at the end of the season.
However, the emergence of the Omicron variant in recent weeks has led many countries to start placing restrictions again.
At the moment, no country that hosts Formula 1 is on the UK’s red list, but that may also change as the situation evolves.
Meanwhile, entry into Australia, which is expected to host the Melbourne race in April next year, remains under heavy guard, with a 14-day hotel quarantine respected.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit worried, because I am,” Nielsen said when asked by Motorsport.com if he had any concerns about the reinstatement.
“Because, as I rightly pointed out, the optimism we might have had two months ago, that the pandemic is now behind us, has waned somewhat in the past two or three weeks.”
“So it’s an ever-changing situation. From the start, this has been an up and down thing, depending on what country you’re in. We’ve had to deal with these changing infection rates and try to adapt our own calendar.”
“I think the only thing in our interest is that in 2020 the pandemic was new to every country. Now, even if it’s still a terrible thing, the world is gradually learning how to live with it.”
“So compared to some of the tougher restrictions that we’ve seen, certainly last year, and the first part of this year, countries are putting in place more robust protocols and learning to live with the virus.”
“Which means that hopefully they can continue to accept international visitors, and obviously it’s an important thing that we need to be able to win our championship around the world. So we’re concerned about that.”
“I’m sure we can complete our schedule, but we will monitor the situation and respond if necessary.”
When asked if F1 already had a plan B in place with alternative venues in standby, such as Portimao for example, Nielsen insisted the focus remains on the current calendar.
“Honestly, we’re on Plan A. And we’re not looking for alternatives to Plan A. If we have to, because things are changing, we’ll do it. But that scenario is a long way off right now.”
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