The Automobile Club d’Italia has warned against a repeat of the last-minute cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix, stating that Formula 1 can ill-afford to make the same mistake.
The Formula 1 season opener in Melbourne was cancelled just hours before the first practice session of the weekend after a member of the McLaren team had tested positive for COVID-19.
This left thousands of fans waiting outside the gates of the circuit, unaware of the situation. Several McLaren personnel were required to self-isolate in Melbourne before travelling back to Europe.
The 2020 season is yet to get underway, as the first nine grands prix of the year have been either postponed or cancelled. The season is scheduled to begin in France, although a ban on mass gatherings has cast serious doubt on this transpiring.
Speaking with Gazzetta dello Sport, the Automobile Club d’Italia president, Angelo Sticchi Damiani said a repeat of the Melbourne fiasco would be a “disaster” for the sport.
“We can no longer afford to make mistakes like in Australia, when the GP was cancelled with the public already at the track,
“That was a setback for everyone, from Liberty Media to the teams, to the local organisers. To start again and then be forced to stop would be a disaster,
“We are going through a situation of great uncertainty and in this moment we must act with caution and attention.”
The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is located in Northern Italy, which has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. A strict lockdown is in effect, and it remains unknown at this point when it will be lifted.