Lewis Hamilton says Formula 1 is facing its most difficult season to date as the sport is set to resume amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Red Bull Ring in Austria will be the scene of the opening two rounds of the 2020 F1 season, with the first race being held next weekend.
Teams will be following strict guidelines of social distancing and strong personal hygiene in order to keep the paddock safe as it travels from country to country.
Speaking in a video released on social media by Mercedes, Hamilton says that the challenges that the sport is facing will make it the most difficult campaign to date.
“We are preparing the best way we can for what is going to be the most difficult season, I think, that Formula 1 and all of us have experienced with the difficult times that we're facing and the changes that we have to make in order to operate,” he said.
Fans will not be allowed access into race tracks for the foreseeable future, with Hamilton asserting that he will miss seeing the crowds at the circuits.
“I wanted to say a big, big thank you to all of you for all the positive messages, it’s really, really helped over the past couple of months for the team and I,” the six-time world champion said.
“And we’re going to miss you at the races, I’m going to miss seeing you guys at the races.
“Driving past empty stands is going to be not too inspiring, it’s going to be quite lonely, but we’ll know that you guys are still there with us in spirit, so please keep your fingers crossed for us. Stay positive.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing