Haas chief Steiner hails 'best possible' F1 health rules


Paris (AFP)

Health rules for Formula One's coronavirus-delayed, season-opening Austrian Grand Prix are the best they could possibly be, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said on Thursday.

Measures excluding spectators and limiting numbers of staff from the media, teams, security and also F1 officials may even be reinforced before the July 5 race at the Red Bull Ring in the picturesque Styrian mountains.

"We could not have done more really, what has been put in place is the best possible," the Italian leader of the American-financed team said.

"We are very happy with what has been done and what they are still working on," said Steiner.

People working at the Grand Prix circuit will be required to remain in selected groups and all their contacts will be kept so as to pursue tracing protocol in case of an outbreak or an infection.

Any positive test would provoke immediate isolation and replacement.

The Red Bull Ring will also host the second race of the season on July 12.

Meanwhile, Steiner admits that with only eight races so far confirmed for the season -- and all in Europe -- teams will not be able to start flashing the cash despite the sport's big-spending reputation.

"We do not plan development until we know exactly what we have in terms of budget and how many races will take place, because I cannot spend money that I do not have," he explained.

There were to be 22 races in the 2020 season but after the opener in Melbourne was cancelled at the 11th hour, the schedule has been drastically reduced.

Six races have already been cancelled while Russia, Vietnam, China, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi are waiting to be scheduled.

Fewer races mean severely-reduced commercial revenue.

"Until it is clear, I will be very careful," insisted Steiner.

"We don't take the risk of planning something without having the means. It would be worse because we couldn't do the last GPs."

As far as the Haas driver line-up for 2021 is concerned, Steiner said he hasn't even thought about the futures of Frenchman Romain Grosjean and Denmark's Kevin Magnussen.

Both are out of contract at the end of 2020.

"The transfer market started early with the separation of Sebastian (Vettel) and Ferrari, but it has calmed down since," he said.

"We have not yet started to discuss it and we didn't even think about it. There were other things to settle, the drivers were the last of my priorities."

Haas were second last in the 2019 championship with 28 points with Magnussen in 16th place in the drivers standings and Grosjean in 18th.

Only the two Williams drivers, George Russell and Robert Kubica, finished behind the Frenchman.