Ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring this weekend, Renault DP World F1 Team team principal Cyril Abiteboul believes that seeing Formula 1 cars on track once again is a “positive signal of progress” that the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic is being won.
Abiteboul says the team have come a long way since the postponed start of the season in Australia in March and following the seven-week shutdown period at their factory in Viry, and nine weeks at their Enstone base, praising the efforts the sport has made in both fighting the virus and making sure racing can resume safely.
“It has been a long journey since Australia: nine weeks shutdown at Enstone and seven weeks at Viry. While taking the necessary measures to protect itself, the Formula 1 community has mobilised to deploy its skills and resources around collective projects to respond to the challenges presented by the epidemic,” he said.
“In parallel, immense work has been done by the FIA, F1 and teams to provide effective responses so that racing can return in a secure environment. We now have to adapt to this new mode of operation but seeing the cars on track is a positive signal of progress on the health front.”
Abiteboul went on to say that the team had done a lot of work in order to be able to bring the planned updates for the cancelled races to Austria, adding that they are even more important considering they have struggled at the circuit in the past.
“Competition will therefore resume and also the traditional dual aims of competitiveness and progress. From our perspective a lot of work has been done to bring the chassis upgrades planned for the cancelled races three, five and six to Austria.
“This is particularly important when we remember the difficulties of our car at the Red Bull Ring in previous seasons.”
The Frenchman said that the season is going to be difficult, owing to the uncertainty of the situation with COVID-19 worldwide, but they are noteless up for the challenge.
“Above and beyond the technology, it is a season that will be trying for personnel, with a demanding schedule that follows a very disturbing period for everyone.
“The human element will probably be more important than in more standard seasons, and the role of each person will be decisive in the end result. This obviously applies to our drivers, but both are highly motivated at the prospect of the return and challenge,” he concluded.