Formula 1 motorsport manager Ross Brawn has told Reuters that a world championship race could not take place in a country that denies entry to a team due to the coronavirus crisis.
As F1, the FIA and race organisers in Australia, Bahrain and Vietnam scramble to keep their upcoming events alive, travel restrictions imposed by the aforementioned countries are wreaking havoc on the F1 community’s plans and logistics.
Teams and personnel originating from Italy, where a cluster of over 2,000 coronavirus cases emerged in in the northern part of the country, are among those who are currently facing massive challenges regarding an entry into Bahrain and Vietnam, either because of travel restrictions or 14-day quarantine procedures.
The evolving situation has raised concerns about Ferrari and AlphaTauri’s ability to travel and participate in the opening rounds of the F1 world championship.
Speaking at an F1 sponsorship event on Tuesday, Brawn said a race would not take place if any team was restricted entry into a country because of the coronavirus, on the basis of fairness.
“If a team is prevented from entering a country we can’t have a race,” Brawn told Reuters. “Not a Formula One world championship race, anyway, because that would be unfair;
“Obviously if a team makes its own choice not to go to a race, that’s their decision.
“But where a team is prevented from going to a race because of a decision of the country then it’s difficult to have a fair competition.”
Brawn said that talks were currently ongoing with Vietnam’s health authorities regarding possible measures to secure the proper running of the country’s inaugural F1 event, including asking teams to reduce their traveling work force.
“They want the race to happen but also they’ve got to protect their population,” added the F1 chief.
“So we’re looking at what solutions we can find to make sure everybody is comfortable with the arrangements,” he said.
“There’s a lot of things going on at the moment and it changes on a day-by-day basis. It’s difficult to be definitive now but we’re going to find solutions.
“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,” Brawn insisted.
“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.”