In an interview with CNN, Racing Point F1 CEO and Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer said that Formula 1 should have raced in Australia at the beginning of the season despite the concern of COVID-19. Szafnauer also expressed that he believes the season could start in Austria.
“It’s difficult to predict the future there at Melbourne, but when I look back at it now, had we raced, I think we would have raced safely.” Szafnauer said to CNN. “The risk was very, very low, and I think we could have put the race on.”
Szafnauer also gave an insight into the meetings before the race, and the chaos of trying to figure out if the grand prix was going to take place or not.
“The thing you’ve got to remember is that there are 10 independent teams, the FIA, and then there’s Formula 1, and then there’s the Australian government as well. So there’s kind of like 13 or so independent decision makers that unless you’re all together you don’t really know what the other guy’s doing.” Szafnauer said.
He also recalled that the teams voted majority to race early in the morning when he had left the meeting, and that by the time that he got to the grid the next morning however, the race had been called off.
Szafnauer is of the belief that the season can get under way with the Austrian Grand Prix in the summer, stating that “If Austria do a very good job as a country to contain the spread of the virus into July and there’s testing available for all of the Formula 1 employees or participants to actually test, I think it’s plausible to put on a race in early July. So if by sometime in June, we say ‘yes, it’s on, you know, it’s safe, it’s happening, we’re safe to go,’ I think all the teams will be able to make it.”
You can watch the full interview with Szafnauer here.