The Formula 1 paddock is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation as it develops while it prepares for the opening flyaway races.

With F1 already postponing the Chinese Grand Prix from its original April date due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country, speculation over both the Vietnamese and Bahrain rounds due to cases of the virus despite F1 chief executive Chase Carey stating “all systems are go” on Wednesday while accepting the situation is developing.

But as the virus spreads across Europe, with a spike in cases in northern Italy close to where Ferrari, AlphaTauri and tyre suppliers Pirelli are based, F1 teams are preparing to hold talks about plans for the start of the 2020 season.

“It’s a situation that is changing almost hour by hour and we’re reacting accordingly in order to make sure that we protect the people that work for us,” Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams told Reuters.

“There are a lot of questions that maybe need to be discussed and answered.”

F1’s senior management, the FIA and teams are expected to meet tomorrow on the final day of pre-season testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to discuss the virus and potential plans. While the details on the potential meetings remain unconfirmed, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner is confident in the sport’s preparations amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“They are looking at it carefully. You cannot take no risk if you go anywhere these days, everybody is at risk [from something],” Steiner said. “To keep it as low as possible and make the right decision. We don’t get involved in that one, we don’t have the resources to do that.

“They have and the FIA has all the connections with the governments and so on. I think they are thoroughly making sure we are as safe as can be.”

F1 teams are currently assessing its travel routes to the opening rounds to avoid the areas reported with the highest number of cases, but with the virus developing rapidly teams are having to be reactive to changes.

“A lot of our team were routed through Singapore (to Melbourne) and the cost of having to re-route is significant,” Williams added to Reuters.

“It is a big problem and something we’re trying to work through at the moment.”

 

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