Formula 1 to create ‘isolated environment’

Formula 1 to create ‘isolated environment’

Formula 1 plans to create an isolated environment for competitors when it starts racing again in July.

Managing director Ross Brawn said they are working on a “kind of biosphere” in which teams and drivers would operate at races without spectators.

F1 aims to start the championship with consecutive races at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on 5 and 12 July.

“We’re working our way through all the requirements to make sure we operate in a safe environment,” Brawn said.

Brawn, who was talking on an official F1 podcast, said that re-starting a season that has been thrown into disarray by the coronavirus crisis was a “massive logistical challenge” but that “it is all going to be done properly, there will be no risk taken and it will all be done in the correct way”.

Brawn said: “Unfortunately it will be without fans, which is a great shame, but we still feel we can take the race out to all the fans who watch us on TV and other means.

“It’s important for us to try and get the season going. [There are] many reasons for wanting to start the season.

“One is obviously to excite the fans, who have all been frustrated by the delays. We’ve got a very exciting season in front of us. But it’s a very important livelihood for thousands of people, it’s another reason for trying to kick-start the season.”

He said that the need to ensure the sport created no added medical risk in running events was one of the issues pushing it towards its current plan to have two races at both Austria and Silverstone on consecutive weekends in July.

“It’s a real consideration because one of the logistical challenges is getting everyone tested and cleared to enter the paddock and enter the racing environment,” Brawn said.

“And I think once we do that, it’s very attractive to keep everyone in that environment, within that kind of biosphere that we want to create for another race.

“It’s also pretty challenging to find the right sort of races early on where we can control the environment well enough.

“Austria fits that bill very well. It’s got a local airport right next to the circuit, where people can charter planes into. It’s not too close to a metropolis, it has a great infrastructure around it.

“There will be no motorhomes, but there will be a full catering facility laid on that the circuit has. So we can basically contain everyone within that environment. Therefore once we’re there, it’s appealing to have another race the following week.”

It is unclear to where the season would head next in Europe after the races in Austria and Silverstone.

Spain and Hungary are possible next venues.

The organisers at the Hungaroring announced on Friday that it would not be possible to hold their race without fans.

BBC Sport understands they are confident after conversations with the Hungarian government that the race will be able to go ahead.

Hungary on Thursday banned events of more than 500 people until mid-August but current talks have focused on holding the event after that date.

Brawn added: “It’s been months now of working on the best reaction we can have to this terrible pandemic, the best reaction the sport and business can have.

“So my days and weeks and months have been full of negotiations with the team and [governing body] the FIA on the right way forward and of course the circumstances are changing so frequently and that’s pretty challenging. So it will be great to get back on track again.”



Kepa Arrizabalaga has underlined his commitment to Chelsea and insists his relationship with manager Frank Lampard is healthy.

Chelsea paid £71.m – a world-record fee – to sign Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao in August 2018, but Lampard favoured backup Willy Caballero earlier this season, leading to speculation about his future. 

But Kepa told Marca: “The relationship with Frank is very good. “He has shown me confidence from the first moment. He must make decisions, but I feel I have his confidence, both his and that of the whole club. We all like to play in every game.

“It is true that, in the last 10 years, Chelsea is the English team that has won the most titles, and I think we should have that ambition. In fact, I came here for that and in the first season, we already achieved the Europa League. We have a young team. 

“Then came the penalty of not signing players (the transfer ban) but you have to keep fighting for titles. I want to win everything with Chelsea and with the national team.”

Ligue 1 & 2: France’s top two divisions will not resume this season

Ligue 1 & 2: France’s top two divisions will not resume this season

The Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons will not resume after France banned all sporting events, including behind closed doors, until September.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the 2019-20 sporting season was over as he announced plans to ease France’s coronavirus lockdown on 11 May.

French football’s governing body had hoped to resume the season on 17 June and finish the campaign on 25 July.

Football was suspended indefinitely in France on 13 March.

It is not yet known whether Ligue de Football Professional (LFP) will choose to abandon the season with no promotion or relegation and no champions or base the outcome of the campaign on current standings.

Defending champions Paris St-Germain are 12 points clear of Marseille at the top of Ligue 1, with 10 rounds of matches and one outstanding fixture left to play.

Toulouse are bottom of the table, 17 points from safety, and 10 points behind Amiens. Nimes are 18th and in the relegation play-off spot, three points behind St Etienne in 17th.

Ligue 1 top six

PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi said after the announcement: “We respect of course the French government decision – we plan on competing in the Champions League with Uefa agreement – wherever and whenever it is held.

“If it is not possible to play in France we will play our matches abroad subject to the best conditions for our players and the safety of all our staff.”

The top five sides in Ligue 2 are separated by just four points, with Lorient and Lens currently occupying the automatic promotion spots.

The LFP had previously met on 10 April and voted to resume the Ligue 1 season.

However, Philippe said: “The 2019-20 season of professional sports, including football, will not be able to resume.

“It will be possible, on sunny days, to practice an individual sporting activity outdoors, obviously respecting the rules of social distancing.

“It will not be possible, neither to practice sport in covered places, nor team or contact sports.”

European leagues have until 25 May to tell European football’s governing body Uefa whether they want to complete or cancel their seasons.

Javier Tebas, president of Spain’s La Liga, said after the announcement in France: “I do not understand why there would more danger in playing football behind closed doors, with all precautionary measures, than working on an assembly line, being on a fishing boat on the high seas, etc.

“If important economic sectors cannot restart, in a safe and controlled manner, they could end up disappearing. That could happen to professional football. In other countries teams are already training, that’s the example to follow.

“In Spain, football is an important economic driver that we need to reactivate like many others. We continue to focus on this reactivation, in a responsible manner and adhering to health recommendations, as soon as possible.”

The Dutch top flight was abandoned on Friday with no promotion or relegation and no champions, while on Monday Belgian clubs postponed a vote on confirming the cancellation of their top flight until next week.

The head of the Dutch FA told BBC Sport he thinks it is “very doubtful” the Premier League will be able to complete the 2019-20 campaign.

Uefa has said it will use on-field performance to determine which clubs make up next season’s European club competitions.

If league seasons cannot be finished, it said national associations would need to select clubs to qualify for Europe.


French football expert Julien Laurens on BBC Radio 5 Live

What the prime minster announced came as a bit of a shock.

Our league had a plan in pace with resuming training in May and playing behind closed doors in June. This afternoon, we were briefed that he would announce something big and perhaps there would be no football until August, so there was still a bit of hope. But now it will end the season.

Although it is the right decision it is still a bit of a shock to know there will be no football until September in France. We don’t know yet whether there will be relegation or promotion because not playing any games was not in anybody’s mind.

Financially, it is going to be a disaster, so now all the top-two tier clubs will vote in May. What looks most likely is PSG will be crowned champions and you will take the table as its stands, although for Lyon with a game in hand – who were fifth after matchday 27 and seventh after matchday 28 – it makes a huge difference.

For relegation and promotion it is not very clear. Maybe the bottom two will go down because it was not tight, but promotion from Ligue 2 is much tighter.

The last thing Uefa wanted was for one of the five big leagues not to continue but the prime minister said it is just not safe enough to play. Even in September, I am not sure it will be safe enough for football to resume