FIA warns series not to engage in "turf wars"

The FIA has warned against “turf wars” emerging between different series once motorsport is able to resume following the global coronavirus pandemic.

FIA warns series not to engage in "turf wars"

Championships are currently working on plans to stage events in the coming months after the COVID-19 crisis forced the suspension of motorsport across the world.

Formula 1 has outlined plans to start its 2020 season in Austria at the start of July, while other series are also formulating blueprints to race behind closed doors as restrictions on mass gatherings remain in force in many countries.

But FIA deputy president Graham Stoker is wary of possible clashes between championships as they bid to resume racing in the coming months.

“It will be an enormously competitive and potentially very crowded environment, and in one way that’s what we’ve got to hope for,” Stoker said in an interview with the FIA’s in-house magazine, AUTO.

“We want to see the return of the enormously vibrant and diverse motorsport environment we are used to. However, it will need very careful management.

"When we look at things such as the International Sporting Code and international sporting calendar, the approach has to be flexible. It’s crucial that we prioritise the staging of events. What would be counter-productive would be to get involved in turf wars.

“Let’s not get involved in disputes about who has got which slot and what prior agreements might specify. That approach will not work.”

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Stoker suggested championships could look to work together on methods to get racing back underway, potentially even sharing tracks on weekends.

"The main priority is get motorsport going again and if that means some ‘super weekends’ with multiple events happening, in co-operation and with flexibility, well, why not?” Stoker said.

“Just getting grassroots events or medium-level national events up and running, so that the confidence comes back, is very important.

“Motorsport has got to pull together, and we’ve got to have flexibility in terms of events and venues and thinking outside the box in order to get things going again in a spectacular way that will obviously attract public interest.

“We should also demonstrate that motor sport remains relevant and a positive influence, through its messaging and actions.”

In a message to the FIA’s member clubs, the governing body’s president, Jean Todt, said he hoped any learnings from resuming the F1 season in Austria could be filtered down to lower levels of motorsport.

“We hope to be able to restart the season this summer with the first grand prix in Austria on the weekend of the 3-5 July,” Todt said.

“We will be able to share the learnings and processes to run motorsport under COVID-19 restrictions with all of you in order to restart all our competitions and grassroots motorsport as quickly as possible.”

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