The start of the 2020 Formula One season is quickly approaching. At the same time, the coronavirus pandemic is spreading like wildfire. There are even concerns that Ferrari and AlphaTauri could miss the Vietnam and Bahrain races. However F1 managing director, Ross Brawn insisted that all 20 cars will take to the track.
Both, Vietnam and Bahrain placed strict restrictions on travellers from a number of countries, most notably Italy. The Vietnam Tourist Board stated that people entering from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran must carry out medical declarations and 14-day medical quarantine before entering the country.
Meanwhile, Bahrain immigration and health authorities asked for names and flight details of all “F1 personnel who work for teams, administrators, broadcasters or media who have been to, or transited through, China, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Egypt, Lebanon and Thailand in the 14 days before their arrival in Bahrain.”
Speaking to Reuters, Brawn declared that a race cannot go ahead even with one team absent. He stated that it would be unfair to exclude them.
He admitted that, a team voluntarily choosing not to travel, is a different story. However, if a team is prevented from racing, because of a country’s decision, then it’s “difficult to have a fair competition.”
Alarmingly, the virus is spreading rapidly, and the respective governments and World Health Organisation will have the final word. Luckily, F1 officials are working in tandem with health authorities in Vietnam.
The country is torn between hosting the race and protecting the people. This is why all involved parties are seeking solutions to ensure than everybody is comfortable with the arrangements.
He concluded, “It’s a very serious situation, so I don’t want to underplay it. But we’re trying to have races. We’ve got to do them in a responsible way.”
“We’re minimizing the number of people in the paddock, we’re asking the teams to send a minimum number of people they need to a race.”
One particular plan is to charter a plane to take F1 personnel based in Italy direct to Bahrain with all undergoing screening on arrival.