The Coronavirus threat across the world has already derailed several sporting events with Formula 1 the latest to consider the possibility of postponing events in the coming months. The Chinese Grand Prix has already been postponed but with the first race in Australia fast approaching there were doubts about few teams' participation.
Italy has become the worst affected nation after China in recent weeks and with F1 heavyweight Ferrari along with Alpha Tauri, Alfa Romeo and Haas Racing based in the country their participation was not guaranteed. It was being reported that several employees of the aforementioned teams could be quarantined making it impossible to attend the race and perform their duties.
However, Ferrari have confirmed their participation for the first two races of the F1 season in Australia and Bahrain while maintaining that the situation is evolving every day. The first race of the season is on March 15, while the Bahrain race is two weeks later on March 22.
"Contrary to what has been reported, and despite knowing that the situation is constantly evolving, at the moment our departure for Australia and Bahrain is confirmed," a Ferrari spokesman told Ansa news agency, as quoted on GrandPX.news.
Australian GP boss Andrew Westacott is also certain that all teams will arrive in Melbourne in the next couple of weeks after F1 management reiterated their desire to go ahead with the race at Albert Park.
"At this stage there is no indication of further travel bans, nor is there any indication that Formula 1 and the teams will not be arriving as usual," Westacott said. "Formula 1 has again confirmed overnight that the Australian GP is going ahead and we're looking forward to welcoming them and the teams to Melbourne."
Vietnam race under threat
The third race of the season, however, is in Vietnam – their first in F1 – and the organizers are adamant that the race will go ahead as planned despite the Chinese Grand Prix being postposed. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto admits that all the teams based out of Italy could be affected, especially, after South East Asian country announced that a 14-day medical quarantine will be necessary for people entering the country from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran.
"I don't just see us and Alpha Tauri affected," Binotto said. "I am also thinking of Alfa Romeo and Haas and of course Pirelli. There could be a situation where four teams cannot race. Should a Grand Prix take place then? Ultimately it's not my decision."