Formula E driver Sebastien Buemi says it’s simply “not responsible” for motor racing to continue in the current circumstances, while the world continues to combat the global spread of the coronavirus.
The FIA’s all-electric championship announced at the end of last week that it was temporarily suspending the current 2019/20 season for at least two months in light of the latest developments.
That means losing the E-Prix races in Paris and Seoul, in addition to the previously cancelled rounds in Sanya and Jakarta. Currently the next planned race is in Berlin, followed by New York and a double-header season finale in London on 25/26 July.
- Formula E and FIA ‘temporarily suspend’ 2019/20 season
Hours after Formula E’s announcement, F1 was forced to cancel the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne at the last minutes as fans queued at the gates to get in for the first practice session.
That was followed later by more cancellations and postponements of IndyCar and NASCAR races in the US. This weekend’s Mexican World Rally Championship has also been cut short in order to allow competitors to return home early.
Buemi believes that Formula E took the right approach in how it handled the mounting crisis and fully backed the suspension of racing around the world.
“More than anything right now, it’s a bad image to organise an event and probably not responsible to do it,” the 2015/16 series champion told The-Race.com
The 31-year-old Swiss driver, who currently competes for the Nissan e.dams team, felt that trying to hold races behind closed doors was not a satisfactory answer.
“If you try to push on then I don’t know what the public opinion would be, to be honest,” he stated. “It is a perspective thing, no?”
Trying to find alternative locations currently free of the coronavirus would also have proved to be a mistake in Buemi’s opinion.
“By the time you decide, actually there are so many cases where you plan to go that basically it is not possible anymore,” he explained. “I think at some point it is better just to stop it and wait.”
Since losing his F1 race seat at Toro Rosso in 2011, Buemi has competed in all but two Formula E series since its inception. He has 13 wins from 61 starts making him one of the championship’s most successful drivers.
It also makes him also a man in demand, with plenty of other commitments in the world of motorsport including a reserve driver roll in F1 with Red Bull and an ongoing role with Toyota in the World Endurance Championship.
That means if postponed events are rescheduled and concentrated in the latter half of the year, diary clashes are bound to become an issue. But for right now, Buemi is taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach.
“I’m not yet completely aware of everything,” he said when asked what the plan was now at Nissan. “I think initially they are planning to stay home a bit and also rest, because for us it’s been really flat out since the beginning of January.
“Of course, you can speak to your engineer. As long as you can travel to France you can go on the simulator, so there are still many things you can do.
“Obviously it’s about doing anything you can,” he added. “I have full confidence in what Formula E decides to do, and then we’ll see.”
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Formula E, coronavirus, Sebastien Buemi