Formula 1’s hopes of staging the Hungarian Grand Prix on its original date look in jeopardy following a ban on large public events in the country until mid-August.

Hungary’s government announced on Thursday that events with more than 500 participants cannot be held until at least August 15 in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus infections.

The ban will impact several large international festivals which are due to be held across the summer months in Hungary.

This year’s Hungarian Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on August 2, however the restrictions enforced by the national government all but rule out any hopes of the race going ahead as initially planned.

Just this week the head of the Hungaroring race had insisted the date was still viable and stressed he remained confident of holding an F1 round in some form.

Even if the race went ahead without spectators it would likely result in well over 500 F1 personnel being in the paddock across the weekend when considering team, medical, marshall and broadcasting staff required. 

The opening 10 races of the 2020 F1 season have already been postponed or cancelled altogether due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with championship officials frantically attempting to piece together a rescheduled calendar.

F1 revealed its initial blueprint of a plan to get the campaign off the ground, which includes staging multiple behind closed doors races in Europe beginning with the Austrian Grand Prix in early July.

Although not confirmed, it is understood F1 hopes to hold back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring on July 5 and 12, before staging another double-header event at Silverstone on July 19. Following the British Grand Prix, Hungary is the next race yet to be affected by the coronavirus crisis. 

While bringing forward the summer break from its traditional has opened up some flexibility to reshuffle events into the traditional August shutdown slot, F1’s window to hold European races in the summer looks to have been further tightened by Hungary’s latest measures.

Additional complications are caused by the Netherland's strict rules on mass gatherings until September, which is likely to see the returning Dutch Grand Prix deferred until 2021, while similar restrictions are set to scupper plans to hold the Belgian Grand Prix on its scheduled date of August 30. 

 

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