Formula 1 needs to be both “incredibly responsible and enormously responsive” to the coronavirus situation, according to Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams.
Travel restrictions have been changing on a daily basis in response to the global outbreak of the virus that originated in China, with countries reporting over 1000 cases – including Italy, Iran and South Korea – central to those restrictions. However, with Japan, Germany, France, Spain, the United States, Singapore and Hong Kong all reporting over 100 cases, fresh travel bans could make F1’s schedule even more difficult to execute.
Williams says the sport needs to be reactive to the situation and follow advice, but stresses the importance of understanding its own role as the paddock flies across the world between multiple regions, when cases have been reported in every country that is home to an F1 team.
“It’s an incredibly serious situation,” Williams said at an event with title sponsor ROKiT. “Being a global sport traveling around the world with thousands upon thousands of people – and that doesn’t take into account the number of fans traveling as well – there’s so much movement that we’ve got to be incredibly responsible and enormously responsive as well.
“But at the moment it’s a moving target. We’re clearly keeping in touch with the relevant authorities, with F1 as well, and taking the guidance as it’s coming. But it is changing literally by the hour at the moment.
“So it is incredibly difficult. It’s quite a difficult management piece, when you’re thinking about Formula 1 and the number of personnel that you’re taking to a race, the amount of kit that you’re putting on air freight and sea freight, and the cost involved in all of that.
“We want to go racing at the end of the day, but we’ve got to make sure that we keep our people safe in doing that. So we will just continue to take the guidance as and when it comes through.”
F1’s managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn has already confirmed a world championship race will not go ahead if any team is unable to attend an event due to the restrictions.