FIA agrees to early mandatory shutdown for F1

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The FIA World Motor Sport Council has approved Formula 1's plan to bring forward its mandatory summer break due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

As the sport deals with successive race cancellations, the idea of implementing a mandatory break as soon as the end of this month, and extending the shut-down period from two to three weeks, emerged last week.

With Italy under lockdown because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Ferrari has already closed its factories in Maranello, a situation that compelled the Scuderia to take the lead in the initiative to impose a three-week shut-down.

The move will also free up the month of August and potentially allow to slot in the Dutch and Spanish postponed races.

"In light of the global impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus currently affecting the organisation of FIA Formula One World Championship events, the World Motor Sport Council has approved a change to the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, moving the summer shutdown period from July and August to March and April and extending it from 14 to 21 days," the FIA said on Wednesday.

"All competitors must therefore observe a shutdown period of 21 consecutive days during the months of March and/or April.

"The change was supported unanimously by both the F1 Strategy Group and F1 Commission."

Red Bull Racing was the first team to react to the FIA's announcement, saying that it supports the decision.

"As a Team we currently plan to shutdown on 27th March for a three week period, however due to the ever changing nature of the pandemic there may be some flexibility around these dates," said the Milton Keynes-based outfit in a statement.

"Whilst we would all love to return to racing, the severity of this global pandemic is changing by the hour and the impact transcends our sport.

"We therefore agree with the measures being taken to reduce the risk of transmission and will support any further race postponements that are deemed necessary."

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