Formula 1 2020: Australian Grand Prix race without fans? Not a chance, say organisers
The season-opening Formula 1 race in Melbourne will proceed as planned this week and there is ‘no chance’ fans will be excluded because of coronavirus fears
The race in Shanghai in April has been postponed, while organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix said their race would go ahead without spectators
Most F1 teams are based in England but Ferrari and AlphaTauri (formerly Toro Rosso) are located in Italy, which has seen a recent surge in coronavirus cases
More than 107,000 people around the world have been infected by the virus and 3,600 have died, according to the latest tally
The season-opening Formula One race in Melbourne will proceed as planned this week and there is ‘no chance’ fans will be excluded because of coronavirus fears, Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief Andrew Westacott said on Monday.
The fourth round of the championship in Shanghai in April has been postponed, while organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix said on Sunday that their race would go ahead without spectators 22 March.
Westacott, however, said there was no prospect at all of Australia following suit with Sunday’s race at Albert Park, especially after a record crowd packed into Melbourne Cricket Ground for Sunday’s Women’s T20 World Cup final.
“Not a chance,” Westacott told SEN radio in Melbourne on Monday.
“When you look at 86,000 at the MCG last night ... we’ve got to go around things sensibly and keep moving on through life while taking the necessary precautions.”
More than 107,000 people around the world have been infected by the virus and 3,600 have died, according to a Reuters tally of government announcements. Several international sporting events have been affected.
Most Formula One teams are based in England but Ferrari and Honda-powered AlphaTauri (formerly Toro Rosso) are located in Italy, which has seen a recent surge in coronavirus cases.
“The interesting thing is the Italian freight,” Westacott added.
“The AlphaTauri cars and the Ferrari cars are on their way from (the airport) as we speak, so it’s really good. The key personnel are on their planes (and) ... we’re expecting them in the next 12 to 24 hours.”
Professor Brendan Murphy, the chief medical officer for the Australian government, said on Monday that he did not see the Formula One race, which attracts around 300,000 people a year to Albert Park, as a risk to public health.
“There’s no evidence of community transmission in Victoria at the moment,” he told reporters in Melbourne. “I’m not feeling at all concerned going to mass gatherings or walking down the streets in Victoria. So I don’t think that there’s a risk at the Grand Prix.”
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Formula 1 2020: Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto says team looking to put 'worst of days' behind at Mugello
Ferrari also finished outside the points in the previous race in Belgium and the second successive double flop dropped them to sixth in the constructors' championship.
Formula 1 2020: Valtteri Bottas hails 'fun' Mugello circuit after dominating Tuscan Grand Prix practice
Bottas clocked a best time of one minute and 16.989 seconds around the spectacular 5.245km Ferrari-owned Mugello circuit, two-tenths quicker than championship leader Lewis Hamilton with Max Verstappen a familiar third for Red Bull.
Formula 1 2020: Lewis Hamilton aims to break records and Ferrari's heart at their home race in Monza
Lewis Hamilton will be favourite to claim his sixth victory in the old royal park, moving him one clear of the record five he now shares with Michael Schumacher – and leaving him on 90 wins overall ahead of the Tuscany Grand Prix a week later.