F1 teams in prison threat over Hungarian lockdown
Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas steers his car during the qualifying for the Formula One Styrian Grand Prix in Spielberg, Austria. AFP
Formula One drivers and teams have been warned they risk prison sentences and fines if they ignore strict coronavirus lockdown measures to be imposed at next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
An announcement by the Hungarian Government, with special focus on people from Britain and non-EU countries, was sent to the teams at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday, according to Autosport. The report said that those who break the lockdown measures would face imprisonment or a 15,000 Euros fine.
An official communication, sent to the teams, was quoted saying: "Attendees of UK or other non-EU or EEA nationality should not leave the venue, or their accommodation, for any reason other than for travel between the two locations and for their pre-arranged arrival and departure to and from Hungary."
The document, a copy of which has been seen by Autosport, added that “attendees of UK or other non-EU or EEA nationality may not use public transport and taxis. “Any meals should be taken at either the venue or the accommodation and any free time should be spent within the boundaries of the accommodation. Failure to adhere to these additional restrictions will be punishable by the Hungarian authorities and may result in imprisonment and/or fines of up to approximately 15,000 Euros."
Seven Formula One teams are based in Britain and the restrictions are expected to apply to most of the 2,000 people expected to be present at the Hungarian race. It was made clear also that it was recommended that all F1 personnel who travel to Budapest adhere to the Hungarian restrictions.
The warning comes as F1's governing body the FIA are investigating Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes for leaving the Formula One 'bubble' at Spielberg this week to return home to Monaco.