In the lead up to the 2020 Formula One season, there has been a good deal of speculation in regards to how the looming threat of Coronavirus will affect the calendar. We’ve already seen the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix at the hands of the disease, and at least three more are in jeopardy of not happening in the near future. The first of which is the Australian Grand Prix set to kick off the season in just two weeks time.
A recent comment from race director Ross Brawn has cranked up the fear of races not going forward. In a comment to Reuters, Brawn said, “If a team is prevented from entering a country, we can’t have a race. Not a Formula 1 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.”
“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,” he continued. “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.”
This comes after news that Vietnam announced travel restrictions on all visitors entering Vietnam from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran. Anyone coming from those countries must carry out medical declarations and 14-day medical quarantine before entering the country. The Vietnam Grand Prix is only 33 days away.
Italy has experienced at least 2000 cases of COVID-19, resulting in at least 52 deaths, thus far. If this restriction is not lifted by the time of the Grand Prix, which seems unlikely, it would certainly become an issue for Maranello-based Ferrari, Faenza-based AlphaTauri, and Formula One tire supplier Pirelli. Even the American-based Haas team has an office in Italy.