April 19, 2010
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The volcanic ash that has brought European air travel to a complete halt this week is now putting doubt into the minds of the Formula 1 paddock, as they prepare to fly to their bases across Europe before the Spanish Grand Prix.
At the moment, most airports are closed across Europe, because the volcanic ash poses a danger to jet engines. At the moment, there is not a chance of the teams getting their cars and equipment to their team factories within the next day or so. The engines are the most important component to be flown back, as they need to be worked on before the next race.
With this in mind, the Formula 1 entourage is currently worried about getting back and prepared in time for the Spanish Grand Prix, which begins on Friday 7th May. However, Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is not worried, as he explains:
"The main concern is getting the engines back because they have
to be worked on.
I am sure everything will be all right. There is no question
of cancelling the Spanish Grand Prix. Of course it is causing
everybody problems but we will find a way to get everyone home."
While I’m not too worried either, there is a cause for concern at the same time. Presuming the teams will get their engines back to base within a week or so, it will then take a few days to work on the car at the factory. Then, the cars will have to be sent off to the Circuit de Catalunya a few days before Friday Practice. It should be done in time, as long as the airways are opened within the next week or so.
Update: One of the European airlines ran a successful test flight to Shanghai, so this is good news for the teams. There should be little worry after this.