FIA Crisis Cell to oversee coronavirus response

Jamie Woodhouse
FIA set up Crisis Cell to manage coronavirus response.

FIA set up Crisis Cell to manage coronavirus response.

The FIA has confirmed the creation of a Crisis Cell to manage its response to the continued threat posed by the coronavrius.

The Chinese Grand Prix which was scheduled for April has already been postponed, but that has proven to be just the start of the problems.

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix isn’t yet certain to happen next weekend, while ticket sales for round two in Bahrain have been halted.

There are also doubts over the Vietnam Grand Prix as travel bans imposed on nations such as Italy and Japan continue to threaten the logistical side of Formula One.

The cell will get together every other day to discuss matters regarding the virus – the World Motor Sport Council confirmed that it was set up in response to feedback from Professor Gerard Saillant, who serves as president of the FIA medical commission.

In a statement the FIA said: An FIA Crisis Cell has been established and convenes every second day to consider the latest developments around the world.

“The FIA continues to closely monitor the situation and its implications, together with its Member Clubs and Promoters, and follows the advice of relevant authorities including Governments and the World Health Organization.

“The FIA will evaluate the calendar of its forthcoming competitions and take any action required to help protect the global motor sport community and the wider public, including the postponement of competitions where necessary.”

While well aware of the problems which the coronavirus creates for Formula 1, the series’ managing director Ross Brawn stressed that the sport “can’t just shut down completely”.

“We are all facing the challenge of the coronavirus,” he said at an F1 sponsorship event at Silverstone.

“I think the key thing is to try and maintain the sport in the safest possible way. We can’t take unnecessary risks, but we can’t just shut down completely.

“I mean if the whole economy shut down completely, that would have a much more serious impact than the coronavirus. But the coronavirus is a very serious threat, so we have to take the necessary reactions.”

Brawn said that as it stands the first three races in Australia, Bahrain and Vietnam are going ahead, but the situation is “changing day by day”.

“For every country we’re working with the local health authorities to decide what are the appropriate actions to take,” he explained.

“All the teams for instance are minimising the amount of staff that travel. So we’re taking every sensible precaution we can, and we have to follow the advice of the health authority.

“At the moment, the first three races are going ahead. But this is a situation that is changing day by day. So we have to react and we have to respond accordingly.”

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