Motor racing: Dutch F1 Grand Prix postponed to 2021 due to pandemic

AMSTERDAM (REUTERS) – The Dutch Formula One Grand Prix at Zandvoort has been postponed to 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, organisers said on Thursday (May 28).

The race at the seaside circuit would have been the country’s first since 1985.

“I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year,” Dutch Grand Prix sports director Jan Lammers said on the race website.

On Wednesday, teams agreed to a spending cap of US$145 million (S$200 million) in 2021 with a subsequent limit of US$135 million by 2023, as the sport’s rulers attempt to stem the bleeding from the coronavirus pandemic.

The FIA’s World Motor Sports Council ratified the amendments to F1’s rules in a season decimated by Covid-19 with 10 of the scheduled 22 races already either cancelled or postponed.

From 2021, spending will be capped at US$145 million with a limit of US$140 million for 2022 and US$135 million for 2023-2025, based on a 21-competition season.

“A major step forward for @F1 and motor sport’s sustainability. Thanks to all, @fia, @F1 and the teams for this achievement,” tweeted FIA president Jean Todt.

Before the pandemic struck, a spending cap of US$175 million was set to be introduced next year in a bid to help even up the competition.

“The World Motor Sport Council has approved further changes to the regulations governing the FIA Formula One World Championship primarily due to the ongoing need to reduce costs and safeguard the sport in light of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said a FIA statement.

As well as a budget cap, the FIA also agreed to a host of changes to technical and sporting regulations.

The most significant of these was the introduction of a handicap system for aerodynamic development, also set to be brought in for 2021.

Under the agreement, the lower a team finishes in the constructors’ championship, the more wind tunnel time they will be allowed to use to develop the car the following year.

“Formula 1 wins today,” said Zak Brown, the chief executive of McLaren.

“This is a crucially important moment for our sport. F1 has been financially unsustainable for some time, and inaction would have risked the future of F1 and its participants.”

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