And as Turkey has shown, that picture could be a lot brighter by the time each race comes around, you just don’t know. Just like you don’t know which cards are going to be dealt.
But there has been growing discontent about the brutal travel schedule as we get into the meat of the busiest part of the season. F1 had backloaded the calendar late last year in the hope that Covid-19 restrictions would have eased and races would be both easier to travel to and able to welcome large crowds, making them more profitable for promoters.
It was agreed to at the highest levels because many are aware of the pressures caused by the pandemic, and while the strain on the teams on the ground was considered, for their bosses the more important thing is keeping them all in stable jobs. Getting as many races in as possible would lead to greater revenues and a better outlook for each team.
That’s not to say concerns weren’t instantly voiced over the schedule – I even wrote about them previously here – but it’s now that people are actually going through it that they are facing the realities of a tough run.
While things were made slightly easier by the cancellation of Japan and the fact the race wasn’t replaced, those working so hard at each event are also bound by extremely strict protocols that were largely put in place over a year ago. So where there’s dissent, it comes towards both the work schedule they’re tackling and the conditions in which they do so.
But that’s just another gamble that F1 has to weigh up. The impact of positive results have been lessoned and many host countries are far more open than they were last year, but the odds of catching the virus is perhaps higher as a result. And as the upcoming races show, not every nation is particularly welcoming – or welcomed by the UK – even now.
We’ve got this far, but not without a lot of firefighting behind the scenes. That won’t let up as the championship starts to near its conclusion in the coming months, to ensure the epic show on the road stays on the road.