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Masi: F1 looking at various options for venues

NEWS STORY
16/06/2020

With FP1 in Austria just over two weeks away, F1 race director, Michael Masi is about to leave Australia for Europe having remained in Melbourne since the ill-fated 'season opener'.

"I've just stayed during the lockdown here in Melbourne, and worked out of here," he told Speedcafe.com.

"By day, I've been catching up on work, and by night, putting on Zooms, and WebExs, and Skypes and whatever other form of online meeting there's been," he revealed.

While the first eight races of the revised calendar have been announced, there remains uncertainty as to what will follow. With a number of the flyaways certain to be dropped, it is looking increasingly likely that after years of exploring various other options, F1 is rediscovering its European heartland.

"There's a number of FIA Grade 1 circuits around the world, and particularly through Europe," he says. "There are various options, not going into any specifics, that are and have things presented through Formula 1 and the FIA, and we're working through those.

"There are some events and some venues that weren't on the original calendar that may appear," he adds. "That's something that we will continue to work through jointly to ensure that we can achieve as many events as possible for everyone."

Behind the scenes things are falling into place, certainly as far as the opening races are concerned. However, the F1 we see in two weeks' time will not be the F1 we have grown used to. Other than the absence of spectators, the teams will feature reduced crews and the 'traditional' ceremonies will be temporarily shelved.

According to Pitpass sources, media coverage will be impacted also, with just 15 journalists covering the opening events instead of the usual 300 or more.

Indeed, the same 15 journalists will cover the opening two races at the Red Bull Ring and then the Hungaroring, before another group takes over for the events that follow.

Surprisingly, the BBC, Channel 4 and Reuters will not be present.

In a further twist, those (15) journos that do attend the Red Bull Ring event will not work from the circuit's designated media centre but from a tent located outside the perimeter of the track.

"I won't be going to visit the Red Bull Ring prior to the event, other than in the week of," says Masi. "We've got a great relationship with all of our circuits, and the guys doing the Red Bull Ring have been keeping us completely up to date, and been on regular calls with them. Same with the Hungaroring, same with Silverstone.

"It will be more just making sure that we are collectively as refined as possible with trying to ensure these first eight events are primarily as safe as possible.

"Safety is paramount from our perspective, and importantly, ensuring that we can get through them, and maintain the integrity of the championship and, in a way, minimising our risk as much as possible to get through them as safely as possible."

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