F1 Teams Planning to Host Virtual Car Launches Due to COVID Restrictions- Will Buxton

Published 01/10/2021, 9:36 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace


F1 car launches are a huge pre-season event. It is the reveal of the weaponry that teams will employ to compete in the upcoming season and hence it attracts a lot of buzz around it. However, this year, that buzz appears missing as most of the teams have hinted at a virtual launch due to COVID restrictions.

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COVID threat is back to pester with the teams and the F1 calendar again. The UK is experiencing its third lockdown this year as the new strain of the virus spreads like wildfire. Nonetheless, that could not stop Will Buxton from letting fans in on the latest updates from the world of F1.
Earlier, in his This Week’s first episode, he let us a peek into the car launch plans of the teams. He revealed that the camps are planning to hold virtual releases due to COVID protocols, and that will hurt fanatics. Teams like McLaren and Mercedes usually host grand car reveal events and fans will miss that direly.

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“One thing that is worth mentioning is that we are under these COVID restricted times and lockdowns in the UK but, almost all of the factories are back up and operating. Motorsport, motor racing falling under the manufacturing side of business which is allowed to go back and work at their place of work. 
“Most of the teams I’m hearing from thinking about doing virtual launches for their cars. So we may not see a car actually hit the track not even for a shakedown until probably second week of March,” concludes Buxton.
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F1 2021 calendar at threat

As already mentioned, it is not just the car launch but also the calendar that is at stake here. COVID’s new strain will soon engulf the entire world again as things currently stand. Therefore, to host the races in Monaco and Singapore would be out of the question as the circuits are based out of public streets.
Moving ahead from that, more daunting are the rumors of the Australian Grand Prix being postponed again this year. Last year, too, the race had been called off in the final stages and this year looks to be heading down the same road. With that gone, Bahrain Grand Prix is set to be the first race of the 2021 season.

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Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ George Russell leads and Valtteri Bottas is second placed after the start of the race Pool via REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
However, that might not be the end of the misery. FIA president, Jean Todt, predicts 2021 to be another tough season. He warned everyone that COVID is not over yet and that it might get worse. Therefore, he hinted at the possibility of a revised calendar already.
Although the virtual car launch may hurt the fans, another revised and reduced calendar will make it worse. Already, the 2020 season has denied them three to four rounds of F1 action. If the same were to happen again, it would devastate the fans as well as the entire F1 circus. Nonetheless, all we can do is hope for the best.

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Indrasish Ganguly

395 articles

Indrasish Ganguly is an F1 author at Essentially Sports. An avid fan of the F1 championship, the Kolkata based writer admires Lewis Hamilton the most on the F1 grid. His interest in racing stems from his love for cars and speed.

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