Shorter stages and co-drivers back in action are just two recommendations delivered by the FIA in its updated return to motorsport guidelines, issued on Tuesday.
Motorsport around the world has slowly started to return after COVID-19 brought the world into lockdown, with rallies across central and eastern Europe beginning to reappear.
To facilitate this return in as safe an environment as possible, motorsport’s governing body published a document of guidelines in early June that all competitors, teams and officials must adhere to, and the FIA has now revealed an updated version of these.
The most pertinent changes affect the format of rallies. The FIA advises that events should include “shorter stages repeated more often, longer service time to allow for social distancing measures within the service park, or as a more extreme measure, to run events as a single-venue instead of multi-venue competitions.”
It adds that race circuits, private land or military zones might give “the best possibility to run a rally in a controlled environment.”
Just a single service park without remote tire or refueling zones is encouraged, drivers must drive their own car into parc fermé and time cards will be submitted electronically with co-drivers remaining in their vehicle.
The FIA also suggests that balaclavas are to be worn so that they cover both the face and mouth, and the traditional ‘Meet the Crews’ show at the end of each day will be outlawed in favor of a more generic media briefing where social distancing guidelines are to be respected.
Various stakeholders also now need to divide themselves into sub-groups which, for example, would include a competing crew and their mechanics within a wider team.
Each member of the sub-group must be COVID-19 tested before and after the event and the sub-group must be devised at the very start of the week, before pre-event recce.
DirtFish understands more specific guidelines could be coming on Friday. FIA rally director Yves Matton told DirtFish earlier this month: “The FIA is working quite hard on the guidance to restart competition.
“Concerning rallying, we will be able to publish a guidance for our new approach concerning competition and the restart of competition in rallying.”
The first international rally to run is expected to be Rally di Roma on July 24-26, a counting round of the European Rally Championship. The FIA and WRC Promoter are still working to finalize the remainder of this season’s WRC schedule.