Thursday evening the NTT IndyCar Series released a revised schedule for this weekend’s Firestone GP of St. Petersburg, which has been affected by the COVID-19 virus.
After announcing earlier in the day that the season-opening race would go ahead – albeit with no spectators – the series has now confirmed details of how the race weekend will proceed.
The revised schedule will eliminate Friday’s on-track action, which would have consisted of two 45-minute practice sessions. Saturday will now see two practice sessions followed by qualifying later in the afternoon.
Sunday’s schedule will remain unchanged, with a final warm-up session followed by the 198-mile race around the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.
The race will continue to be televised, but IndyCar has chosen to substantially reduce the number of media members permitted to attend the race in an effort to control the spread of the virus.
Weekend activities will also continue to include support action from the Road To Indy series, IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup, and SRO Motorsports Group America on a condensed schedule.
Speaking about the lack of fans at the track and the changes to the schedule, IndyCar CEO Mark Miles said, “IndyCar loves to present great sport and competition and there is no place we enjoy more than St. Petersburg to open our season.
“However, the priority had to be the health and safety of our fans, drivers, teams, officials and workers.
“We worked through all the possible options with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, his administration and race promoter Green Savoree and we came to the best possible conclusion given all the circumstances, in particular when our teams indicated they still wanted to race.
“We are aware of the number of fans that gathered in St. Petersburg for the race weekend, but we are hopeful they trust and understand that the move was made with their health and welfare in mind as the sports world looks to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic from a global perspective.”
Earlier in the day the city of Long Beach confirmed that a ban on large gatherings will delay the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, which would have been the third race on the IndyCar calendar.
|Revised Firestone GP of St. Petersburg Schedule (all times local)|
|Saturday, March 14||Practice 1||9:45|
|Sunday, March 15||Final Warm-up||10:25|