Sunday’s race, the first of two in Austria on successive weekends, would be the newest begin to a championship after the Covid-19 pandemic pressured the cancellation of the scheduled Australian opener on March 15 earlier than a wheel had turned.

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz (Reuters Photo)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was first out on track as Formula One season get underway
  • Friday was the first time all of the drivers had been on track collectively since suspension of the season
  • The final time any of them raced was in Abu Dhabi in December final yr

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was first out on track as the opening free apply session of the much-delayed Formula One season bought underway at a moist and overcast Red Bull Ring on Friday.

Sunday’s race, the first of two in Austria on successive weekends, would be the newest begin to a championship after the COVID-19 pandemic pressured the cancellation of the scheduled Australian opener on March 15 earlier than a wheel had turned.

Friday was the first time all of the drivers had been on track collectively for the reason that finish of pre-season testing in Barcelona final February.

The final time any of them raced was in Abu Dhabi in December final yr.

“Motor Sport is back!,” mentioned International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Jean Todt on Twitter, moments after the automobiles left the Spielberg pitlane to start lapping the scenic circuit.

“It’s good to hear the engines and see cars again and almost get back to some phase of normality,” Red Bull group boss Christian Horner advised Sky F1 tv.

“We all look like we’re in some kind of hospital programme, with all the face masks and the PPE (personal protective equipment)… but other than that working practices are very much as normal.

“This is day one of many season so it is somewhat bit odd coming right here midway by way of the yr.”

The race is being run under strict health and safety conditions, with teams operating in ‘bubbles’ and isolated from each other in a paddock, with drivers wearing face masks even when talking to the media by video link.

The race will be run completely without spectators for the first time in Formula One history.

“We are all used to a variety of followers within the campsites, grandstands…however crucial factor is we’re finally again on track and might put up a superb present,” said McLaren principal Andreas Seidl on a Zoom call.

McLaren triggered the abandonment of the Australian race in Melbourne after an employee tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Seidl said the entire team had a clean bill of health after the latest round of tests.

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