The world championship has been shut down due to the coronavirus. Three Grands Prix have already been postponed and there is no certainty that in April it will be possible to race at Jerez. In this period, everyone is wondering what will happen and when everything will resume, not only the fans but also those who work in the paddock and have to deal with this health crisis. About 70 people work for the Gresini team (a structure present in all categories, from MotoE to MotoGP, as well as Moto2 and Moto3) and Fausto Gresini is doing everything possible to manage a very difficult situation.
"If we all do our part, we will be able to resume activity," he says optimistically.
How are you getting through these days?
"There is a climate of uncertainty, we are working to understand how to move in the future, but it is chaos, all the plans have changed. We need to be able to reflect and react correctly”.
The last time you were on the track was the MotoE tests in Jerez.
“We worked to get the team back, we were in contact with the Farnesina (Ed. Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to try to get everyone to Rome, or to Germany, it wasn’t easy. We also tried to do the tests scheduled with Aprilia in Jerez, but we didn’t succeed despite trying to find a solution for days. At this moment we have to be cautious and take time to regroup."
When will the championship start?
“We all want to race, and we will do it, we just have to wait for the situation to normalize and in the meantime keep our nerves steady. I saw what happened to Formula 1, with the cancellation of the GP in Australia, and in my opinion Dorna has acted well. I spoke to Ezpeleta just two days ago, they keep us up to date, but we still need to understand when and how we will start again, whether there will be any public at the races or not."
Would a Grand Prix behind closed doors be a problem for sponsors?
“Yes, it would because there could be no guests, so it would mean cancelling part of the programs that each team has over the weekend. If that happens, you will have to see what you can do."
Has this suspension of the championship caused any problems with sponsors?
“So far no one has raised the matter, but I expect it to happen. We went through the economic crisis in 2008, I know what I'm talking about, and I think this time it can be worse."
How is the work of the team changing?
"A racing team is in every respect a company. We are continuing to work, we are open, but only at half strength. The offices and the racing department are kept separate, there are the people who take care of the administration, but we have reduced the staff to a minimum".
Are you able to think of a season with fewer races?
“To date, apart from the Qatar Grand Prix for MotoGP, there haven’t been any cancelled races, but we have to wait. Until we have a general idea of things, until we know that we can start again, it is difficult to make plans. Today we can only wait, everyone is determined to do the championship, but we need a certain plan before moving".
Are all your programs cancelled?
“We had scheduled tests in Italy, sessions on the test bench, but everything has been suspended. It is like being in a running car, which consumes petrol but doesn’t move, on the motorway. We are late and we know that we will be late, but we will get there in the end. First the problem must be contained and then we will have to put together a program that can be respected”.