While negotiations to add rallies to this year’s World Rally Championship calendar continue, the FIA is aiming to deliver firm guidance on how two people will compete in one car while respecting social distancing guidelines still in place in some countries.
FIA safety director Adam Baker told the ‘Restart your engines’ eConference last week that he intends to have guidance on the issue in place early in July.
The first advice on how best to run an event in the context of the coronavirus pandemic came earlier this month in the Return to Motor Sport document. There were no specifics on dealing with rallying’s driver and co-driver query, but confirmation came from the governing body that that detail was being worked on.
Baker said: “The [Return to Motor Sport] guidelines are currently focused on circuit racing using a sprint format and we deliberately – although we recognized the challenges for closed-road and endurance racing – chose to publish the guidelines in the form they are now, basically to get it out into the public domain as quickly as possible. And then to leave those challenges and work on those in parallel and then to issue an update to the guidelines.
“The main challenge is cars shared by more than one competitor. We do hope to have that work finished and published by July 3.”
Finished shortly before the eConference was another piece of writing: the COVID-19 Code of Conduct. It was presented to the FIA for approval in the recent World Motor Sport Council sitting, and has now become a new appendix [S] to the International Sporting Code.
Baker explained the thinking behind and importance of the Code of Conduct document moving forward with coronavirus.
“It’s quite an extensive document and solves several issues we face. Firstly, it defines clearly in writing the responsibility of the event attendees and provides for us an enforceable legal framework that allows us to facilitate action by the FIA against anyone who does not apply or practice the required mitigation measures.
“To do that, we had to extend the regulatory authority of the FIA to everyone attending the event [not just competitors]. It allows us to establish a structure on-site that we can group attendees so they can be represented collectively by organisations or other entities respecting the other legal obligations of perhaps the employer, employee relationship, for example.”
Baker said the situation which arose during Formula 1’s Australian Grand Prix, when working individuals were identified as having COVID-19, highlighted the need for contact tracing.
He said: “We recognize one of the key areas in holding a successful event – and learning the hard lessons from Melbourne – would be in precise contact tracing and then having a rapid testing capability so we can accurately determine people who may have been infected so those people can be quickly quarantined and then they can be quickly tested and released from quarantine if they’re found to be negative.
“We reviewed what was available for contact tracing solutions and quickly came to the conclusion we would need something specifically designed for motorsport events.”
The FIA will have its own secure phone application, which will be available to national sporting authorities for use.