It’s been a tough year for Formula One fans with the first nine races of the season, including Monaco, being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
F1 is looking to start the season behind closed doors with the Austrian GP on July 5, followed by races in Britain and Hungary. Hard to imagine a spectator-less event but ESPN reposts only 1,200 to 1,500 essential personnel, including broadcasters, would be allowed to attend.
The Monaco Grand Prix, which represents 5% of the country’s annual revenue, should have kicked off tomorrow, although the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds and endless parties would have already begun this week.
Despite the cancellation, however, residents will have a chance to stand on their balconies and get a taste of the Monaco Grand Prix this Sunday, May 24, as Charles Leclerc, the first Monegasque F1 driver to sign with Ferrari, gets behind the wheel to drive the circuit for a short film by Claude Lelouch.
This means road closures, to both car and pedestrian traffic, on Sunday between 6:45 a.m. and 9 a.m.. The following will be shutdown for filming: Boulevard Albert 1er; Passage Sainte Dévote; Avenue d’Ostende; Place du Casino; Avenue des Spélugues; Tunnel Louis II; Boulevard Louis II; Quai des Etats-Unis; Avenue JF Kennedy; Route de la Piscine; and the Rascasse turn.
In March, the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series was launched to keep fans engaged although no official World Championship points are awarded to a driver.
22-year-old Leclerc has won two of the five virtual F1 races this season and will drive in the Virtual Monaco GP on Sunday 7 p.m. CET. The race will be streamed live on Formula 1’s official YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook accounts.
As for Ferrari, the legendary manufacturer has not been resting idle during the Covid-19 lockdown. The Prancing Horse has donated €10 million and 150 ventilators to the Italian Civil Protection Department; their Maranello factory was used to produce respirator valves and protective masks.
After a 5-week collaboration with the Italian Institute of Technology, Ferrari’s Head of Chassis Engineering Simone Resta unveiled on May 13 the FI5 pulmonary ventilator, an “open source” project that will allow “institutions around the world to use the Ferrari designs for free to build their own ventilators.”
As for Formula One returning to Monaco, the Automobile Club de Monaco confirmed this week that the Grand Prix, Historic Grand Prix and Formula E races will all take place over a 5-week period in 2021.
Article first published May 20, 2020.