Scuderia Ferrari are still preparing for the Australian Grand Prix as planned despite the Italian government announcing a lockdown across Italy aimed at preventing a further spread of Coronavirus across the country.
Both Ferrari and Scuderia AlphaTauri are based in Italy, two of only three Formula 1 teams to be based outside of the United Kingdom, and the lockdown by the Italian government has put doubts into whether employees of the two teams could fly to Australia for the first race of the season.
Whilst Ferrari, who have already sent some staff and equipment to Australia, accept the decision to restrict travel to try and contain Coronavirus in a country that has been heavily hit by the virus, they are continuing with their plan to fly their remaining staff to Albert Park this week in order to be ready for the start of the Formula 1 season.
“Following measures announced by the Italian Government last night, we are monitoring and evaluating the situation and are in close contact with the relevant authorities and all organisations involved,” read a statement handed to Motorsport.com.
“For Ferrari, compliance with the Government regulations represents the primary guarantee for ensuring the safety of its employees and their families which is our priority. Every single decision will be made with respect to this principle.
“Part of the team and equipment have already arrived in Melbourne and the departures for the remaining members of the team are going ahead as programmed unless we receive communications to the contrary.”
‘It would be Unfair to Start the Season’ without All Ten Teams on the Grid – Franz Tost
Franz Tost, the Team Principal of AlphaTauri that has Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly as their drivers, says it would be unfair for Formula 1 to let a race go ahead should a team be unable to compete for any reason.
There has been no comment from AlphaTauri about the recent travel lockdown in Italy, but Tost says it would be a ‘big disadvantage’ for those unable to compete should a race go on without them.
“If teams can’t run for whatever reason, and I have not thought about this and also I’m not a decision maker, but then I think it would be unfair to start the season,” said Tost to Motorsport.com.
“This is a big disadvantage for whoever it is.”
Tost, however, feels there is scope to rearrange any cancelled race either in August or at the end of the year, with the Chinese Grand Prix still to be rearranged following its postponement due to the Coronavirus outbreak in the country.
“I’m optimistic that we will have the 22 races because in November and December we have a lot of time where we can do races – and also August,” said Tost.