DC on 2020 Season Relaunch
The 2020 season is a real prospect again following F1's publication of a revised race schedule on Tuesday.
The new European calendar squeezes eight races into 10 weekends, with Spielberg in Austria and Silverstone hosting two races each on consecutive weekend.
We caught up with C4F1’s David Coulthard for his take on the season relaunch, his thoughts on Lewis Hamilton's recent comments and exactly what we should be expecting when - fingers crossed - racing gets under way again at the Red Bull Ring on 5th July.
BREAKING: The opening 8 races of a revised 2020 calendar are now confirmed— Formula 1 (@F1) June 2, 2020
All 8 are currently set to be closed events, operating under the strongest safety procedures
Further races will be announced in the coming weeks pic.twitter.com/vQioKOAkQo
With the new calendar coming a little over 80 days after the season first ground to a halt in Australia in March, Coulthard has been impressed with how the sport has responded to the logistical challenge of relaunching the season in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.
“I think Formula One have done a good job. If you go back eight weeks, they already had a mark in the sand for Austria being the first Grand Prix in July and it’s given everyone a date to work to.
"That takes leadership, it takes understanding and vision and it takes commitment.
"It takes coordination and people working together and sport is able to move in a way that politics isn’t because people have a common desire to want to compete and to put the show on.”
As well as relaunching the season, F1 has also found itself under scrutiny this week following comments from Lewis Hamilton critical of the response – or lack of one - from the sport as whole to events in the USA surrounding the death of George Floyd.
And Coulthard is supportive of Hamilton using his position and profile to draw attention to the issue of racism within sport and society more broadly.
“Lewis is perfectly placed to comment because he has gone on his journey to being the first black world champion and being an incredible role model to any male, female, black, white, whatever religion around the world, of what can be achieved with family commitment, hard work and determination applied with the talent he had."
Looking ahead to the return of racing in Austria in a month’s time, Coulthard is also adamant a pair of double-headers and races held behind closed doors shouldn’t diminish the excitement on offer.
“Some people think if you do two Austrian Grands Prix, you’ll essentially get the same results.
“But the development won’t be stopping so even though you’re at the same circuit one week later, weather conditions will be different and developments will have progressed.
"There will be a lot more information available for the teams that comes into play than would be normally. I think it’s potentially very exciting."
And although fans might not like to hear it, their absence at the circuits won’t be felt too keenly by the drivers – at least according to a man with 62 podium finishes to his name.
“As a driver, you’re not consciously thinking about the crowd’s support in the way that maybe in football or cricket or tennis where the crowd - when they breathe in you sense that and feel that… You can’t hear that within the noise of the cockpit!”
Concerns about rusty drivers struggling after such a prolonged lay-off are also apparently wide of the mark.