Formula One and the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

Formula One is also one of the major international sporting events which has been a victim of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

So far this season, the first nine scheduled races, including the iconic Monaco Grand Prix, have been postponed or cancelled to protect the lives of all those involved in the sport and its fans.

Fortunately, to date, no Formula One drivers have tested positive for the virus.

It is hoped to start the season with the Austrian Grand Prix, which is due to take place on 5 July 2020. This may well be possible, given that Austria has now started to ease the lockdown restrictions imposed on the country, by allowing a partial return to work and the reopening of garden centres, DIY stores and thousands of small shops, but with strict rules on ‘social distancing’ remaining in force.

It is not all doom and gloom for the sport as there is a particular positive and important outcome of the engineering and advanced technology involved in Formula One, which is worth mentioning.

A new ventilator, to treat people with severe symptoms of the virus, has been developed by a consortium comprising Airbus and seven Formula One teams, including McLaren and Mercedes, and this has just been approved for use in the UK by the corresponding regulatory health authorities.

Britain has ordered 10,000 of these ventilators in a bid to make up a shortfall and to save more lives. Production of them will start immediately.

This is a remarkable response in the ongoing fight around the world against this deadly virus from perhaps an unexpected source!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘’