Another extension to the Formula 1 shutdown period has been ratified by the World Motor Sport Council, extending it by a further four weeks.
During the summer break F1 teams are normally forbidden to work on design, research, development and production related to the sport, typically for a two or three week period in August.
The reason for this is to give mechanics and engineers time off to spend with their families and friends.
Shortly after the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled, however, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) moved the summer shutdown period forward from August, and it was then extended to five weeks.
This latest extension, announced on April 28, takes the total Formula 1 shutdown period to 63 days.
On a more positive note, the FIA has said that after 50 days of the shutdown, teams will be able to use up to a maximum of ten personnel to “work remotely on long lead time projects.”
While many of the mechanics and engineers would no doubt be happy to get back to their jobs, there may be concerns that allowing the F1 teams to resume work could further underline the gap between the high- and low-budget teams.
The sport’s engine manufacturers are also affected by the shutdown, albeit within a different time frame, with their shutdown extended from 35 to 49 days. After 36 days they will also be able to take advantage of the ten personnel exemption.
Both teams and engine manufacturers will need to make a formal application and receive approval from the FIA before these limited teams of employees are put back to work
News of the extension comes on the heels of F1 CEO Chase Carey’s announcement that the Austrian Grand Prix will hopefully host the first race of the 2023 season over the weekend of July 3-5.
Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, Formula 1 managing director of motorsports, Ross Brawn, outlined plans to create a "biosphere" to get the 2023 season underway with back-to-back races in Austria.
He said the aim was to create an environment where strict testing for COVID-19 would help prevent any cases of infection.
"One of the logistical challenges is getting everyone tested and cleared to enter the paddock and enter the racing environment," said Brawn.
"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 full catering facility laid on that the circuit has. We can basically contain everyone within that environment.
"Therefore once we're there, it's appealing to have another race the following week."
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