Ferrari Formula 1 boss Mattia Binotto has expressed “solidarity” to the people of Italy affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

Italy, which is home to Ferrari’s F1 operation at Maranello, is the worst-hit European country from the COVID-19 outbreak, with over 35,000 confirmed cases and the highest amount of deaths worldwide - 3,405 as of Friday morning. 

This week, the Agnelli family which controls Ferrari and Fiat donated €10m (£9.3m) to the Italian government to help deal with the coronavirus emergency at a national level, as well as buying 150 extra ventilators and providing a fleet of cars to distribute food and medicine.

Speaking to the official Formula 1 website upon Ferrari’s return from the cancelled Australian Grand Prix, Binotto said the thoughts of all at Ferrari were with the people of Italy. 

“The health of our employees is important. It's our top priority,” Binotto said.

“We managed to go to Melbourne, even though it wasn't easy for us to be there as we had to change our plan on the flights as well. 

“But more than that is what is happening in Italy, which we are concerned [about]. We express our solidarity to all our people here.”

Ferrari halted production at its road-car and F1 factories at Modena and Maranello and has begun its mandatory shutdown period this week with F1 bringing forward its summer break from August to March-April after the opening seven rounds were postponed. 

“There are a lot of restrictions which have been applied to minimise risks of contagion and that is affecting our development capacity,” Binotto explained. 

“Now everything is obviously pending. Before the shutdown, we tried to recalibrate the development programs on the basis of various calendar hypotheses but, obviously, we must wait for the evolution of the spread of coronavirus in the world and its effects on the resumption of activities.

“Only when we have a more precise picture will we be able to understand what we will be able to bring to the track in the first Grand Prix of the season. 

“We have to understand how the situation will develop but we hope that we can go back to running as soon as possible, once the conditions are right. 

“For our part, we are ready to support F1 and the FIA in this delicate phase."