Photo: TC America

St Petersburg rounds to go ahead with reduced grid

The second round of the TC America season this weekend will go ahead despite suggestions that IndyCar could be forced to cancel the Grand Prix of St Petersburg.

The ever-changing situation around coronavirus – which resulted in the USA announcing it would close its borders to visitors from across Europe – saw the decision taken by IndyCar officials and the city of St Petersburg to close the event to spectators.

Further discussions with the parties involved then took place to decide whether the race weekend would go ahead, with the end decision being to proceed behind closed doors to try and reduce the risks posed by the COVID-19 virus.

“We are following the lead of city, state and federal elected officials and public health authorities,” Greg Gill, President and CEO of TC America organisers SRO America said. “As always, the safety of the race fans, teams, drivers, partners, workers and officials is our top priority.

“We encourage everyone to follow the published guidelines on active protection methods to avoid contracting or spreading the virus.”

The field is set to be missing both FCP Euro Volkswagens however, with the team having elected to withdraw the cars of defending champion Michael Hurczyn and Nate Vincent.

The decision by the team was taken before news that the event would run behind closed doors.

“This morning, FCP Euro made the extremely difficult decision to withdraw from competition and attendance at this weekend’s Grand Prix of St. Petersburg,” the team said in a statement.

“After considering the information available from the World Health Organisation and the Centre for Disease Control, we believe avoiding the large crowds that are anticipated this weekend is the most responsible way for FCP Euro to play a part in reducing the global spread of COVID-19. This decision is in line with our internal priorities of employee, company, and community wellness above all else.

“The FCP Euro motorsports programme is built upon sharing our company and values to those at events back home and throughout the country. It pains us to disappoint any of our supporters and apologize to everyone that this decision impacts. We’re grateful for everyone who stands by FCP Euro, on and off the track.

“We are confident that we’ll return back to racing when the time is appropriate and look forward to seeing you there.”