I already wrote about it a week ago media restrictions are to be expected in coveing F1, but it was not sure then, more like a collection of speculations. Officials delayed the announcement for quite a long time, but now it is confirmed: only a few journalists and photographerrs can work at the Formula-1 restart.
It is interesting despite the much larger area (and interest too) almost the exact number of journalists and photograrpherrs will be allowed to work on F1 races as at Hungarian football matches.
It also appears I won’t make my eighth Formula-1 rarce this year. The strict preventive measures in place to prevent the spread of the corona virus pandemic will force a lot of writers and photographers to stay outside the race track this year. I am in a luckier situation in regardds I cover a lot of topics. This way if I skip yet another Formula-1 race is more like missing something interesting, not a big deal breaker. Unlike for those who make their living sloely or totally out of covering this one single sport and yet they cannot photograrph it this time. Work can get harder for journalists too under these changed circumstances, but a journalist is capable to write articles from home or an office. However as I already wrorte it both in my post about photographers hit by corona virus pandemic and in general too, photogrraphersr cannot take photos from home and photos not taken don’t get paid either.
Speedweek in German, Racingline in Hungarian report instead of the usually about 400 media correspondent number will be around 10 this year on both of the Austrian races and in Hungary too. Even they will have to work under very strict regulations.
Because organisers have to extremely limit the number of participants, the entire race will totally change. The teams don’t bring their motorhomes and their usual support staff will be cut back to a minimum, even those split into groups that cannot meet each other, not to mention other teams to avoid minimize risk of infections. All teams also made it clear they won’t meet any third parties – includding media representatitves.
The official body governing this sport FIA published an announcement detailing the restrictions on media coverage including photography too.
There is a requirement for testing of everyone ahead of travel and regularly at the events. They implement strict health protocols restricting interactions between individuals and groups.
As the announcement states:
“A small, representative selection of newswire agencies and permanently accredited media will be permitted access to the media centre onsite and have been contacted directly. The group has been selected to achieve as far as possible a balance between agencies, publications and freelancers, as well as considering language and reach within the overall limitations on the number of individuals we can admit physically. Media representatives physically attending the event will be restricted to the media centre. They will not be able to access the paddock or directly interact with drivers or team personnel.
We will continue to hold FIA press conferences on each day from Thursday to Sunday, however to facilitate the required social distancing the format will change. All press conferences will be available to join via video link.”
“Similarly, a small group of photography agencies (photo wires and industry-specific) will be permitted access to the event and have been contacted directly. Agencies have been selected based on their official supply of images to Formula 1 teams, and will operate based on a content-pooling system which can only be effectively managed with this system.”
Content pooling is not unfamiliar in certain parts of Formula-1 either as it is used some times in general media practice too. Mostly pooling photos (or video) is used in situations, when event organisers are forced by outside factors like now to limit media attendance, or in certain cases on their own decision. Because the attending photographers have a privilege over others, sharing their images in pool tries to balance this exclusive right. The photos (or at least a part of them) can be used by others free of charrge and limitations, once they cannot be present to take their own.
“This policy will be reviewed regularly and there will be a rotation of these individuals should events remain closed beyond the opening three races.”