The organizers of the Australian Grand Prix insist this year’s race will go ahead despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and associated travel restrictions.
Following the cancellation of the season-opening MotoGP race in Qatar — due to travelers from Italy automatically being placed in a 14-day quarantine on arrival — the organizers of the Formula 1 race in Melbourne moved to confirm its race is still set to go ahead as planned. With Australia’s only current restriction being on people who have been in China or Iran in the last 14 days, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott issued a statement confirming the race will go ahead.
“We are all systems go and gearing up for the 25th Formula 1 race in Melbourne next week,” Westacott said. “The finishing touches are being put on the circuit, Formula 1 freight and personnel are arriving in the coming days and we’re looking forward to opening the gates to the public on Thursday, March 12.
“The health and safety of everyone at the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2020 is paramount. The Australian Grand Prix Corporation has robust health, safety and emergency management arrangements in place at each event and we are working collaboratively with health agencies and related government and emergency services organizations in addressing this matter.
“We continue to closely monitor the situation in the lead-up to the grand prix and are taking guidance from subject matter experts, including Victorian and National Chief Health Officers and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. At this stage there is no indication of further travel bans, nor is there any indication that Formula 1 and the teams will not be arriving as usual.
“Formula 1 has again confirmed overnight that the Australian Grand Prix is going ahead and we’re looking forward to welcoming them and the teams to Melbourne.”
At present, only the Chinese Grand Prix has been postponed until later in the year due to the situation, but the cancellation of the Qatar MotoGP round just one week before the race — since followed by the second round in Thailand — highlights how fluid the situation is. Both races were called off due to local government advice.