Ferrari says it is “going ahead as programmed” and expects to be at full strength for the 2020 Formula 1 opener in Australia despite the current lockdown as northern regions in Italy are put into quarantine amid the coronavirus spread.

The Italian government has passed through new laws to ban entry and exit from Lombardy and 14 provinces until April 3 as part of efforts to fight the coronavirus spread.

Over 2,600 coronavirus cases have been reported in Italy over the past 48 hours, which pushes the nation’s total cases to 7,375 making it the second-worst hit country only behind China. 366 coronavirus deaths have been reported in Italy including 169 new deaths this weekend.

The ban is imposed by fines on anyone caught entering or leaving the regions classified as ‘red zones’ including the region of Lombardy plus 14 provinces which covers Ferrari’s Maranello base and Haas team members operating in the Dallara facility in Varano de Melegari, but does not reach AlphaTauri’s headquarters in Faenza.

While the majority of Ferrari’s personnel and team equipment is already arriving in Australia for next weekend’s opening round of the 2020 F1 season, the Italian team has released a statement to confirm it is following all regulations and is confident of getting all its staff to Melbourne.

“Following measures announced by the Italian Government last night, we are monitoring and evaluating the situation and are in close contact with the relevant authorities and all organisations involved,” the Ferrari statement read.

“For Ferrari, compliance with the Government regulations represents the primary guarantee for ensuring the safety of its employees and their families which is our priority. Every single decision will be made with respect to this principle.

“Part of the team and equipment have already arrived in Melbourne and the departures for the remaining members of the team are going ahead as programmed unless we receive communications to the contrary.”

With AlphaTauri also expected to be unaffected by the new Italian travel restrictions, both teams may find it trickier to return after the opening rounds in Australia which is followed by a back-to-back race in Bahrain.

This morning Bahrain GP organisers confirmed its race would be held behind closed doors with spectators banned from attending in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19, becoming F1’s first-ever TV only event.

While F1 regulations state a minimum of 16 cars are needed to start a world championship Grand Prix, Ross Brawn has already announced the sport will not run a race if all 10 teams cannot compete due to travel bans.

Currently, entry and exit into the ‘red zones’ in Italy is only permitted for emergencies and for family or work reasons, although it remains unclear if F1 is deemed within the working remit. 16 million people in Italy have been impacted by the travel ban, while many flights are still arriving and departing in the regions.

 

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