Lewis Hamilton says Formula 1 is on the verge of experiencing the "most difficult season" in its history due to the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Formula 1's disrupted 2020 campaign will finally kick off next week in Austria after a four-month forced hiatus and the cancellation of the first ten rounds of the F1 world championship.
Teams are gearing up for a busy summer in Europe with eight confirmed events, but also for a series of race weekends that will take place under a COVID-19 regime that will include stringent safety and hygiene protocols in the paddock and in each team's garage.
"We are preparing in the best way we can for what is going to be the most difficult season that F1 has experienced with the difficult times that we are facing and the changes we have to make to operate," Hamilton said in a short video released by Mercedes on social media.
“I wanted to thank you all for all the positive messages, they’ve really helped over the last couple of months for the team and I."
Fans will be watching from afar this summer as all races will be run behind closed gates, a restriction Hamilton says will certainly induce a sense of loneliness for drivers.
"We’re going to miss you at the races, and I’m going to miss you," de said;
"Driving past empty stands is just not going to be too inspiring, it’s going to be quite lonely.
"But we will know that you guys are still there with us in spirit. Please keep your fingers crossed for us and stay positive."