Horner: Hungary lockdown will be ‘tough’ on F1 staff

Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner admits the Budapest lockdown is going to be ‘tough’ for Formula 1 personnel to handle.

However, Horner has joined several of his rivals in making clear that a difficult time for staff is a price worth paying for ensuring that F1 can go racing again.

Hungarian authorities announced last weekend that they were imposing severe restrictions on all UK and non-EU race attendees as part of an effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Individuals have been told that they can only be at the track or in their hotel rooms, and anyone caught outside could face a 15,000 Euro fine or imprisonment.

After a punishing two weeks of isolation in Austria, Horner accepts that it will be not be easy to face even tighter restrictions.

“It’s tough for them,” said Horner on the mental challenges that staff will face. “But we’ve just spent three months shut up at home – and it was one of the conditions that we knew would potentially be applicable to returning to racing.

“Given the choice of those being the conditions or not racing, I think we’d all sign up for those conditions.

“It’s not ideal but it’s unprecedented times and it’s only a week in our lifetime. The situation globally seems to be hopefully improving with more races being announced. And Hungary is a racetrack we enjoy and hopefully can perform well at.”

Haas boss Gunther Steiner accepted that the restrictions were not ideal, but felt that them only being in place for one week would not be too much of a challenge.

“I know it’s not what you want to hear, that you cannot go out,” he said. “But it is one race and I think we should be happy that we can go racing there. We should respect their rules, and what they tell us to do. So I do not see a problem with it, you know.”

McLaren boss Andreas Seidl also said that the problem of people being locked inside was much less for F1 than the crisis the sport faced in recent months when the lockdown threatened the future of a number of teams.

“I think the lockdown in the hotel is not the biggest issue,” he said. “We all understand that we need to follow the restriction, and we also understand that it’s very very important that we do these races.

“After the crisis we were in, especially the crisis we were in at McLaren, I think together with this positive momentum we have at the moment in the team, I’m quite confident we can get through this as a team in quite good shape.”

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