Formula One says that no race will go ahead should all ten teams be unable to compete.
The development comes after Vietnam imposed a travel restriction yesterday on all travellers from Italy, including a 14-day mandatory quarantine period.
Ultimately, this places the sport’s two Italian based teams, Ferrari and AlphaTauri, in jeopardy of missing the Vietnam round due to imposed quarantine legislation.
Italy has suffered from a sizeable volume of coronavirus cases. As of the beginning of March, health authorities have reported that the number of those affected in Italy exceeds 2000.
During pre-season testing in Barcelona, team principal of AlphaTauri, Franz Tost, alluded to the myriad of travel restrictions that hinder his Italian team – saying that should any team were to miss a race due to the novel virus pandemic that it would be “unfair.”
“If [some] teams can’t run for whatever reason – and I have not thought about this and also I’m not a decision maker – but then I think it would be unfair to start the season,”said Tost.
“This is a big disadvantage for whoever it is.”
Formula One management has immediately replied to the growing concerns surrounding travel restrictions, with the sport’s managing director Ross Brawn speaking yesterday to Reuters that no race will go ahead should all ten teams not be on the grid.
“If a team is prevented from entering a country, we can’t have a race. Not a Formula 1 world championship race, anyway, because that would be unfair,”Brawn told Reuters.
“Obviously if a team makes its own choice not to go to a race, that’s their decision. But where a team is prevented from going to a race because of a decision of the country then it’s difficult to have a fair competition.”
There is the suggestion that Italian team personnel could avoid the mandatory quarantine in Vietnam if they were to travel to the country directly from Bahrain, which takes place two weeks before the Vietnam Grand Prix.
Promoters for the Australian Grand Prix remain adamant that the season-opening round will go ahead in two weeks’ time, with no acknowledgment that the novel virus outbreak will halt any operations.