Podium ceremonies on the grid? Ross Brawn explains potential tweaks to 2020 race weekends

F1 Correspondent & Presenter

Lawrence Barretto
MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 01:  Ross Brawn, Managing Director (Sporting) of the Formula One Group

The look and feel of a Grand Prix weekend over the next few months will be very different, with races taking place behind closed doors and, at least initially, without any fans in the grandstands.

Traditionally, the grid before the start of a race is packed with drivers, mechanics, media and guests – but there’ll be minimal numbers allowed in the “new normal” while social distancing requirements mean podium and the national anthem will look different too. So F1 bosses have got creative.

READ MORE: Ross Brawn gives an update on the 2020 F1 calendar, racing at new tracks and using different layouts on old ones

“Because of the implementation of the procedures, we need to be safe and sure of the COVID-19 situation,” says F1 motorsports chief Ross Brawn. “The practises we have had in the past just can’t be done. The very packed grid that was a feature of F1 racing just can’t happen.

“So every aspect from the time teams arrive to the time they leave has been thought through and it’s not completely finalised, but we’re working with the FIA to polish it.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - OCTOBER 27: A general view as race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and

Podium ceremonies will have to be somewhat different this season

The Podium

The podium celebrations are one of the most iconic parts of any Grand Prix weekend, and they will remain – albeit in a slightly revised format.

“The podium procedure can’t happen [as it does now], but we’re looking at doing something on the grid after the race,” says Brawn. “One option would be to line the cars up on the track and the drivers will stand in front of cars.

“We can’t present the trophies, as you can’t have someone in close proximity presenting a trophy, but we have worked it out, we have plans and procedures, we’re looking at how we can present it on TV.”

READ MORE: F1 confirm 2020 Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japanese Grands Prix have been cancelled

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 17: The Red Bull Racing team prepare for the race on the grid before

Social distancing measures will change the look of the pre-race grid in 2020

The Grid

Anyone who has stood on an F1 grid will know that without some kind of change, social distancing would be simply impossible. Therefore, some of the procedures we’ve become accustomed to on the grid will have to change.

“Things like the national anthem, you can’t have all the drivers grouped together and you can’t have our FIA Future Stars stood in front of them. The FIA Future Stars will still be part of the show virtually. They will have the uniforms sent to them and they’ll send us videos of them with a message which we can play so there are lots of things we can do to make it entertaining.”

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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - APRIL 28: A general view of the drivers parade truck before the F1 Grand Prix of

The drivers' parade truck is going to have to stay in the garage, at least for the time being...

The Drivers' Parade

A couple of hours before a race, the drivers typically board a truck or ride in a classic car and cruise around the track waving to fans. That won’t be possible, given the close proximity to someone else, so they will be interviewed separately instead.

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“The drivers' parade won’t happen as we can’t put 20 drivers on the back of a truck and take it round the track, so instead we will interview with each one of them in front of the garage,” says Brawn. “There’s plenty of ways we can engage without compromising health and safety.

“I’m 100% confident that we will make it an engaging and exciting product, it will just be different. This is the new norm. How long will this carry on? We don’t know, but this will be the new norm for the rest of the year for sure.”



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