Toto Wolff has issued a rallying statement to the F1 community as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to further hit the sport. The Mercedes team principal has called on fans and competitors alike to pull together as they deal with the disappointment of seeing the 2020 season schedule torn up just as it was about to begin.
Wolff’s open letter read: “Dear motorsport fans, we all love racing. Whether you support silver or red, pink or yellow, orange or blue – what unites us is our passion for racing. So, the prospect of months without F1 just as the season was about to start, after months of hard work to be ready for the new campaign – that prospect might be disappointing.
“After all, we were all looking forward to hearing the engines roar, to seeing the most sophisticated cars being pushed to their absolute limits, to watching the best drivers in the world fight tooth and nail on the track.
“And yet, we must also realise, that racing is entertainment. We take it very seriously, because we love it. But in the grand scheme of things, it is by no means essential. The health and wellbeing of our fans, our team members and society in general, however, is.
“As a team and as a sport we must do everything we can to keep our people safe and minimise the risk of spreading the virus. We fully support the decisions taken yesterday, and we will work closely with F1, the FIA, the local promoters and our fellow teams to find the best answers for our sport in the coming months.
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“In March and April, the factories of all teams will be shut down for a period of three weeks. Bringing forward the summer shutdown period also frees up additional weekends in August which could then be used to host some of the postponed races – and hopefully provide some action-packed weeks once the season gets going. Of course, we will make sure to look after our colleagues to ensure their wellbeing during those busy weeks.
“At its very best, sport has the power to not just entertain, but to unite us. Many of us have great memories of watching races on TV or at the track with our family and friends. In the next few weeks, that unity is best celebrated in our homes and away from the public; not through direct contact, but rather through video calls or social media.
“In the coming weeks or months we will have to adapt to new challenges, but we’ll approach these with the same energy and determination to those we encounter on track. We will not be silent but embrace our creativity and use our platform to be a positive voice in the F1 community. To you, our fans, team-mates, partners, and rivals, it’s by pulling together that we’ll get through these challenges ahead.
“Please stay safe, follow expert advice, make sure you keep your distance – and keep washing those hands. Sincerely, Toto.”