Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey says the situation regarding the impact of the coronavirus outbreak remains “fluid”, but insists it is “all systems go” with the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix.
Formula 1 has already postponed the Chinese Grand Prix due to the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, while other countries have imposed travel restrictions on some citizens.
In recent days Italy has been at the epicentre of an outbreak of the virus, with travel advised against some areas, close to where Ferrari and AlphaTauri are based.
Formula 1 is set to visit Hanoi for the Vietnam Grand Prix on April 5.
“It’s fluid,” said Carey. “So it’s difficult to really have, first of all, where this plays out.
“Obviously, a country like Italy wasn’t really on the radar screen a few days ago and now it is.
“By and large, as a process, what we’re doing is we’re actively engaged with all the events upcoming, I guess, particularly the more current ones to get perspective from in-countries.
“I said I had a conversation [on Tuesday] with our Hanoi partner. And their update was [that] I think they said there are around 15 cases, and actually all of them have recovered
“We are continuing to talk to others about it. We’re obviously — and we are in London through our own channels connecting with experts who have insights to this.
“I think mostly what we need to do is continue to, on top of the issue to try to get the right advice, is to try to plan.
“I mean, some of it is logistics because travel planning is merging.
“I mean Bahrain just added a number of cities that have travel restrictions if you’re coming from those cities.
“So I think part of what we can plan is to make sure we have flexibility and options in place in getting to and from races.
“We’re heading to Melbourne, heading to Bahrain, heading to Hanoi. Although, to state the obvious, we’ve got to see what evolves in the coming days.”
On the potential financial impact on Formula 1 if the Chinese Grand Prix cannot be re-arranged Carey confirmed that “we would not receive the portion of revenue.
“But given the early notice on this postponement, we’re working hard to mitigate the effects, which have the impact to adjusted OIBDA [Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortisation] to be relatively minimal.
“Our broadcasting sponsorship deals are not dependent on race count.”