The FIA has confirmed full details of how Formula 1’s new socially-distanced podium ceremony will take place for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

F1 has created a ‘biosphere’ environment to ensure events can go ahead safely this year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with a number of strict hygiene protocols implemented including the mandatory use of face masks and social distancing measures.

Team personnel are being grouped into ‘family’ and ‘sub-family bubbles’ to minimise the mixing of staff and the risk of potentially spreading the virus, while tests for coronavirus are being frequently conducted every five days. 

As part of the new closed event protocols, the F1 podium procedure has been heavily revised to comply with the social distancing policies.

A glimpse of the new ceremony procedure has been provided after the supporting Formula 3 and Formula 2 races at the Red Bull Ring. For both series, the podium took place in front of the garages in the pit lane.

After the opening race of the 2020 F1 season is complete, the top three finishers will drive to the start-finish straight where the revised ceremony will take place.

Instead of using the traditional podium area at the Spielberg track, the top three drivers will now park in front of the position boards usually located within parc ferme following their cool down laps.

The rest of the 17 drivers will return to the pitlane directly after the chequered flag has been waved.

Only team mechanics and FIA officials will be permitted to enter the area where a driver gets out of the car.

“Other than the team mechanics (with cooling fans if necessary), officials and FIA pre-approved television crews and the three FIA approved photographers, no one else will be allowed in the designated area at this time (no driver physios nor team PR personnel),” the FIA said in a statement.

Drivers will then undergo a weight check using portable scales to ensure compliance with the regulations, before post-race interviews are conducted by 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button.

After the interviews, water, towels, a face mask and a Pirelli cap will be delivered to the drivers using a remote-controlled trolly to wear during the podium ceremony.

Podium stands will be separated on the grid so the drivers can observe social distancing while the nation anthems is played and virtual country flags are displayed.

Trophies will still be handed out before the usual champagne celebration takes place to conclude the podium ceremony.



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