Australian Grand Prix corporation boss Andrew Westacott has categorically ruled out following in the footsteps of the Bahrain GP, which has barred fans from attending the race in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Westacott doesn’t believe such a move is necessary as the situation in Australia isn’t a serious threat, and cited the successful Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup game held in Melbourne at the weekend in which a record 86,000 attended and enjoyed a half-time show by Katy Perry.
Asked by the local SEN sport’s radio station if following Bahrain’s example was possible, he replied: “Not a chance.”
“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.
“There is no evidence of community transmission in Victoria at the moment, so I’m not feeling at all concerned going to mass gatherings or walking down the streets in Victoria. So I don’t think there’s a risk to the grand prix.
“I think if you had widespread or significant community transmission in one or more cities in the country where there was a risk to people going to public events, that’s when you should start looking at that.
“We’re certainly not at a tipping point like that at the moment.”
There’s some concern the race might not go ahead following Italy’s decision to quarantine almost 16 million people in an area that includes both Ferrari and AlphaTauri’s factories, but Westacott is confident everything has already arrived or is on its way to Melbourne.
“The interesting thing is the Italian freight. The AlphaTauri cars and the Ferrari cars are on their way from as we speak, so it’s really good.
“The key personnel are on their planes. We’re expecting them in the next 12 to 24 hours.”