Formula 1 says it is in constant dialogue with promoters and organisers over the COVID-19 outbreak, with quarantine points set to be installed at grand prix venues.
The world is in the midst of an outbreak and spread of a coronavirus, labelled COVID-19, that has caused travel disruption due to tighter restrictions imposed by some governments.
Formula 1 has already postponed the Chinese Grand Prix, planned for April 17-19, while organisers in Bahrain – location for next weekend’s second round – have confirmed it will be held without spectators.
In a statement issued ahead of this weekend’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Formula 1 provided its first in-depth reaction to the outbreak.
It assured that “the health and safety of the F1 fans, family and wider communities is always paramount.
“With the continuing spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and its impact on global communities, F1 is in constant dialogue with promoters, governmental bodies and expert health authorities to ensure the safeguarding of everyone inside and around the sport.
“F1 is taking a scientific approach to the outbreak in order to help assess and implement the appropriate steps needed to minimise risks and protect personnel.”
It added that “due to the fluid nature of the virus, F1 will continue to take a scientific approach to the situation, acting on daily advice from the official health authorities and the advice or measures each host promoter may enact.
“F1 has itself implemented a number of measures based upon advice from Public Health England, including the suspension of all non-essential travel.
“Dedicated teams of experts will be deployed at airports, transit points and at circuits to safeguard personnel, focused on the diagnosis, management and extraction of suspected cases.
“Bespoke quarantine points are being installed by promoters for any suspected cases.
“For F1, the FIA and all teams and promoters, the safety of our people is at all times paramount.”
No mention was made regarding the Vietnam Grand Prix, currently scheduled for April 3 to 5.
Formula 1 personnel have arrived in Australia though travel plans were altered in order to avoid transit hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong.
Itineraries for the following round in Bahrain have also been heavily disrupted due to a reduction in services between the Gulf state and major connecting hub Dubai.
Formula 1 personnel have already been asked for all travel details by organisers in Bahrain.
In the statement issued by Formula 1 it confirmed that “Bahrain has taken the decision to hold this year’s Grand Prix as a participants-only event – part of a wider set of proactive measures implemented by the country to limit the virus’ spread.
“Bahrain will also implement screening procedures on entry and specialist medical facilities onsite, as well as enhanced sanitation at the circuit, additional hand washing stations and specific medical protocols to manage any suspected cases of COVID-19.”