Organisers of Formula 1’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix have insisted that the event is going ahead as scheduled this month, amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
The outbreak and spread of the coronavirus has had an impact on sporting events across the world, with travel restrictions imposed by some nations causing problems.
It was announced on Sunday evening that MotoGP has cancelled the premier class event in Qatar, due to be held on March 8, citing travel concerns regarding personnel from Italy and Japan.
Formula 1 personnel will begin flying out through the middle of this week, with air freight due to travel Wednesday/Thursday, ahead of the race on March 15.
“We are all systems go and gearing up for the 25th Formula 1race in Melbourne next week,” Australian GP CEO Andrew 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 12 March.
“The health and safety of everyone at the Formula 1 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 organisations 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 1and 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.”
Formula 1 has already postponed the Chinese Grand Prix, which was originally scheduled for April 19.