Stricter coronavirus rules mean fewer fans in Portugal

Organisers of this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix have been forced to reduce the number of fans that will... The post Stricter coronavirus rules mean fewer fans in Portugal appeared first on F1i.com.

Stricter coronavirus rules mean fewer fans in Portugal

Organisers of this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix have been forced to reduce the number of fans that will be allowed into the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao this weekend.

Up to 46,000 tickets had been on sale for race day, approximately half the venue's total capacity. A similar number of spectators had also been expected to be allowed into the grandstands on Friday and Saturday for practice and qualifying.

But last week's spike in positive coronavirus cases in the region prompted an urgent review by the country's Directorate-General of Health (DGS).

A total of 2,608 cases were reported on Friday, the highest number in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic and there have been 100 deaths in the last week. In total, Portugal has recorded 95,902 cases of the virus with 2,149 deaths from a population of 10.1 million.

The national government has now implemented a limit to the number of people who can gather in public areas to five, and is in the process of implementing new laws to make face coverings mandatory in public spaces.

Regarding the Grand Prix, the options were limiting the number of fans allowed in, or potentially forcing the race to become another 'closed event' with no fans allowed in at all.

Tuesday's announcement confirmed that the organisers were removing general admittance tickets that did not come with an assigned grandstand seat.

"Portugal saw measures to combat the pandemic COVID-19 increased last week, as determined by the government, with a series of additional restrictive measures taking effect in the national territory," said the organisers in a statement.

“As a consequence of these new measures, the health and administrative authorities have also determined new limitations and prohibitions regarding the presence of the public at Portuguese Grand Prix.

The statement said that these involved "a further decrease in the total number of spectators allowed.”

The statement said that full refunds would be offered to those fans in the general admission zone affected by the decision. The organisers added that it was still working on “several solutions”.

It continued: “We would very much like the current moment to be different, so that everything could happen in a different way.

"But we have to adapt to situations, as they come across us, and resolve them within the possibilities within our reach."

The FIA has its own rules and protocols for how personnel should behave in the paddock at Grand Prove events which includes regular testing of drivers, team members, officials and venue staff.

While positive cases have been reported from team members at McLaren, mercedes and Renault, so far the only driver to have returned a positive result was Sergio Perez.

The Mexican was forced to miss the Silverstone double header in August and was substituted at short notice by Nico Hulkenberg, who also sat in for an unwell Lance Stroll in the most recent race at the Nurburgring.

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Ferrari to focus token spending on rear end of 2021 car

Ferrari's efforts to pull itself up the grid next season will focus on the rear end of its... The post Ferrari to focus token spending on rear end of 2021 car appeared first on F1i.com.

Ferrari to focus token spending on rear end of 2021 car

Ferrari's efforts to pull itself up the grid next season will focus on the rear end of its 2021 car, an area for which the Scuderia will spend both its development tokens.

To mitigate the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, teams must carry-over their 2020-spec chassis into next year, although regulation changes for 2021 destined to reduce downforce levels will require teams to undertake aero and floor modifications.

However, chassis development will be strictly limited by a token system that will allow teams to choose an area or the elements of a chassis if wishes to change.

Ferrari's head of engineering Simone Resta says the Scuderia will focus its efforts on its car's rear end for 2021.

"We will redo the rear of the car," Resta told Italian publication Autosprint. "We think that this is the area that will allow more room for development between chassis and aerodynamics for 2021.

"Furthermore, the rear of the car will be affected by regulatory changes that the FIA are introducing to reduce the aerodynamic load in order to limit the stress on the tyres.

"As a result of these [floor] changes, all teams will lose a number of points of downforce, and it will be essential to work to recover as much as possible.

"All of this makes us believe that the most important area in which to spend development tokens is the rear."

Ferrari's SF1000 has suffered from a double-whammy of weaknesses this season: excessive aerodynamic drag and an underpowered engine relative to its rivals.

The Italian outfit is hard at work on its power unit for next year, but with limited scope for in-season development, Resta remains cautious over Ferrari's progress in 2021.

"Freedom is not as total as it appears," explained the Italian engineer. "You can develop [the engine] freely but it will be frozen from the first 2021 race onwards. Then you can't touch it any more.

"The aerodynamics, even if free, are still limited in form by what [structure] is underneath. You have to consider aerodynamics like a dress: it must be worn over a body, so in a certain sense the dimensions of the body affect the final shape.

"So if the [F1] nose structure remains the same, I may be able to design a new front wing but my creative autonomy will still be limited.

"All these freezes and limitations lead us to think that we will find it difficult to reasonably recover in a single season the gap we have now to the leaders."

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