The Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award, which rewards a young British driver every year with a Formula 1 test, will not take place in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
AMABA began in 1989, and has gone on to boost the careers of many drivers through various categories of motorsport. The drivers eligible to compete for the award usually compete at Formula 3 level and below.
Prior to 2019, the award was sponsored by McLaren, before Aston Martin took over that title role. Red Bull Racing also came in as the supplier of the F1 test.
Previous winners include F1 title runner-up David Coulthard, 2009 F1 champion Jenson Button, four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti, and current F1 stars George Russell and Lando Norris.
Winning the 2019 event, and the ?200,000 prize that went with it, was 2019 BRDC British F3 runner-up Johnathan Hoggard.
The coronavirus situation has hit the UK harder than expected, with the disruption to everyday life through lickdown procedures as well as a high death race.
All motorsport is suspended until the end of June, and it is unlikely that racing (beyond a closed-doors British Grand Prix under discussion) will take place until August. Many junior single-seater series will be forced to run into the time of year in which the AMABA selection process would usually take place.
Derek Warwick, chairman of the judges and BRDC vice-president said: ?Although bitterly disappointed to postpone the Award for the first time since its inception in 1989, we don’t believe it is right to hold this year’s Award in the current situation and with the limited running that potentially eligible young drivers will have.
?However, we are pleased that Aston Martin and Red Bull will run their F1 car for last year’s winner Johnathan Hoggard, with the test hopefully sometime in October.?
In addition, Aston Martin Racing president David King said: ?It’s a great pity to delay the next Award process until 2021, but it is also the right decision and the only fair choice for those eligible to compete for the opportunity.
?The Award has long been a significant milestone in the career of British motorsport’s brightest talent and this continues with Johnathan Hoggard – our first winner.
?We very much look forward to seeing how he gets on when he tests the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing F1 car and the Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE World Endurance Championship contender once the current measures have been lifted.?