The Ferrari Formula 1 team is “acting properly” as a precautionary response to growing concerns over the spread of coronavirus in Italy. 

Ferrari’s Maranello factory is located in the region that is affected by Europe’s largest outbreak of the respiratory virus COVID-19 and is around 90 miles from Codogno, one of 11 quarantined towns in the Lombardy and Veneto areas. 

To date there have been more 300 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 11 deaths recorded in Italy. 

Ferrari has responded by restricting all non-critical business travel and limiting access to its factory following the outbreak in northern Italy, though its F1 pre-season testing programme in Barcelona has been unaffected. 

"Certainly it is a concern and certainly we had to act, making sure we are acting properly,” Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said on Wednesday. 

“Some of the people have been postponed on the flight, just making sure that we were properly addressing all the concerns. 

“But there is no drama, it is just a matter of making sure we are managing it properly, together with F1 and the FIA. 

"As a team we are very cautious and aware of that.” 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed that the disease is now spreading faster outside of China - where it originated towards the end of last year - and has warned the outbreak is close to becoming a pandemic. 

Coronavirus has already had an impact on many sporting events around the world, with the Chinese Grand Prix being postponed, while F1 is continuing to monitor the situation in Vietnam ahead of the country’s scheduled debut on the calendar in April. 

On Wednesday, Ireland’s men’s and women’s Six Nations games against Italy in Dublin on March 7 and 8 were postponed. 

F1 has said it will actively monitor the developing situation and will take any action necessary to “help protect the global motor sport community and the wider public” on the eve of the upcoming season. 

Bahrain, which is due to host F1’s second race of the 2020 campaign in March, has suspended all flights to and from Dubai and Sharjah in the UAE until further notice in an effort to try and slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. The country was among a number of Gulf states to report their first cases of COVID-19 earlier this week. 

Speaking in a press conference on Wednesday, F1 CEO Chase Carey revealed he spoke to Vietnam race organisers as recently as Tuesday and plans to visit Hanoi on March 16.

“On the virus, it’s the obvious state is it’s fluid,” Carey explained. “It’s difficult to really see where this plays out, Italy wasn’t on the radar a few days ago and now it is. 

"By and large that process is we’re actively engaged with all the events that are coming, more current ones, to get perspective. 

“I had a conversation yesterday with our Hanoi partners, 15 cases, all of them have recovered, so the info they have is they recovered, we are continuing to talk to others around it, in London through our own channels connecting with experts. 

“The issue to try and get the right advise, to plan, some of it is logistics,” he added. “Bahrain just added a number of cities that have travel restrictions coming from those cities. 

“Part of what we can plan is making sure we have flexibility or options in place of logistical issues in getting to and from races, other than China, with a particular focus on races at the beginning of the year. 

“We’re heading to Melbourne, heading to Bahrain, heading to Hanoi, although this states the obvious, we’ve got to see what evolves in the coming days and we are working actively to see if there are ways to mitigate the China postponement. 

“I think the long and short of it is we’re having in-country experts, our own experts staying on top of the issues, feel we’ve got as good a handle on it as we can.”

 

Comments

Loading Comments...