Melbourne ‘hopeful’ but not ‘certain’

Date published: March 4 2020

Melbourne 'hopeful' but not 'certain'

Melbourne’s preparations for the Australian GP continue, however, events chief Martin Pakula says there is no “absolute certainty” that the race will take place.

The Australian Grand Prix is scheduled to kick off the 2020 F1 season on 15 March.

But with the coronavirus outbreak leading to the cancellation of sporting events around the world and travel restrictions, that it by no means guaranteed.

“All of the indications from Formula One management are that they are planning for the Grand Prix to go ahead,”Pakula, Victoria’s minister for tourism, sport and major events, told Reuters.

“The set-up is already occurring, we would be expecting machinery and teams to be arriving from today through to the end of the weekend. So we are almost at the point where everybody is going to be here within the next few days.

“But having said that, I recognise the situation is extremely dynamic and to some extent there are matters that are out of control. There are decisions made by the (government) or might be made overseas.

“I’m very hopeful and confident but I can’t say anything about it with absolute certainty.”

To date Australia has 42 reported cases of the coronavirus, putting into place travel alerts while restricting flights from China and Iran.

Other F1 host countries, Bahrain and Vietnam, have restricted people entering from Italy which could have a massive impact on Ferrari, AlphaTauri and Pirelli.

F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn says if any team is prevented from racing, that grand prix will not be classified as a World Championship event.

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