Italy has imposed a draconian lockdown of the Lombardy region and multiple provinces in response to the coronavirus outbreak, a decision that could potentially impact Ferrari.
The Italian government has issued an extraordinary decree that requires approximately 16 million people living in the Lombardy region – including its capital Milan – and 14 surrounding provinces to avoid any movement into and out of the designated areas.
The provinces to which the decree applies are Moderno – where Ferrari is based – Parma, Piacenza, Rimini, Reggio-Emilia, Pesaro and Urbino, Treviso, Venice, Padua, Asti and Alessandria, Novara, Vercelli and Verbano Cusio Ossola.
The quarantine went into effect early on Sunday morning and will last until at least April 3, restricting citizens’ movements except in the case of “undeferrable work needs or emergency situations” – which may apply to Ferrari personnel bound for Melbourne.
Italy is also planning a strict monitoring process of the lockdown, with anyone violating the quarantine possibly subject to a fine or jail time. The police or the army could be brought in to enforce the stringent precautionary measures.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that schools, gyms, pools, and ski resorts will be closed, and all events in “public and private spaces” suspended for the duration.
“For Lombardy and for the other northern provinces that I have listed there will be a ban for everybody to move in and out of these territories and also within the same territory,” he said. “Exceptions will be allowed only for proven professional needs, exceptional cases and health issues.”
Italy has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 epidemic, with 5883 cases as of Saturday and 233 deaths, a situation that has compelled local authorities to restrict public and sporting events.
On Friday, Formula E announced that it was cancelling the Rome E-Prix which had been scheduled for April 4.
F1i understands that part of Ferrari’s personnel has already departed for Australia while the remainder should have been on its way before the lockdown began. But a full-blown quarantine in the Modena province could still disrupt activities in Maranello and significantly impact the Scuderia in the short term.
As far as Scuderia AlphaTauri is concerned, the team’s Faenza base is located out of northern Italy’s restricted red zones. Reports indicate that staff and team members are already on their way to Melbourne, from where everyone will travel directly to Bahrain after the Australian GP.
The global COVAD-19 crisis has wreaked havoc on global travel, impacting entire sectors and industries in many countries, in addition to disrupting local life and economies, not to mention a tragic death toll increasing on a daily basis.
Yet for Formula 1 it remains all systems go, at least as far as the first three races of the 2020 season are concerned. So far the only collateral damage sustained by F1 has been the Chinese Grand Prix which was recently indefinitely postponed by its Shanghai organisers.
But Formula 1 and its entire community are still at risk of being hit hard by the ramping COVID-19 outbreak, meaning Liberty Media could soon regret not canceling the opening rounds of the F1 world championship.