Italian travellers arriving into Australia will undergo a strict screening process when they arrive for the Grand Prix next week.
Italian travellers arriving in Australia will face a tough screening process to ensure they are clear of the coronavirus, according to new travel restrictions in place.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced some new travel restrictions, with travellers from Italy permitted into the country following the screening. This means that personnel from Ferrari, Alpha Tauri, Pirelli etc. should be able to make it into the country for the Australian Grand Prix.
While mandatory 14 day quarantines and outright bans are in place for Australia, they apply to travellers arriving from mainland China, the Republic of Korea and Iran.
With other motorsport series taking hits in terms of postponements and cancellations in light of the coronavirus spread, Formula 1 is trying to stick to its guns for the opening rounds in Australia, Bahrain and Vietnam. Australia, for now, seems secure with Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott saying: “It’s all systems go. The most important issue for us is that the only restrictions in place now are from Iran and China. We are in regular contact with the team at F1 and we keep them fully up to date on a daily – sometimes twice daily – basis with the government and medical situation in Australia.”
Victorian Sport Minister Martin Pakula is more cautious in his predictions about the event, telling The Age: “It’s my job to worry. I recognise that this situation is extremely dynamic and, to some extent, these are matters that are out of my control.
“I am very hopeful … but I can’t say anything about it with absolute certainty.”
German broadcaster RTL has opted against sending their reporters to the opening three races, instead shifting their operations to studios in Cologne for the races. “The spread of the corona virus, the associated incalculable health risks for all colleagues and, furthermore, a broadcast security that can no longer be guaranteed due to the immediate measures when infected, only allow one decision, namely to produce from the Cologne broadcasting center,” said RTL- Sports director Manfred Loppe.
The Bahrain and Vietnam Grands Prix are also difficult to gauge at this point, with travel restrictions in place for both countries – Vietnam, in particular, is a tough one due to a mandatory 14 day quarantine period for travellers arriving from Italy – this effectively means Italian Formula 1 personnel cannot return home between races.
However, Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei has spoken about the coronavirus impact on Formula 1 at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecome Conference in San Francisco.
“I’m not sure how you manage it in a way,” Maffei said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “I believe you’re going to go through a cycle here and I think it’s going to be shorter rather than longer, and you try and batten down the hatches until that’s done. You’ve certainly seen things like travel be hurt.”
“There’s some risk in our businesses like F1. We did have to [postpone Shanghai], and it was not our choice, as the Chinese government told the Chinese promoter not to hold the event in April.”
“But so far we’re still on a go-ahead basis in F1. The next three races at the beginning of the season are Australia, then Bahrain and then Vietnam, and today all are all systems go.”