Melbourne Grand Prix to go ahead despite coronavirus threat

Formula One organisers have assured that the Melbourne Grand Prix will take place on March 15 as planned despite the uncertainty created by the escalating coronavirus outbreak.

The Formula One season has been upended since the coronavirus spread from Wuhan, with the Chinese Grand Prix postponed and upcoming Vietnam race in jeopardy.

The infection from the virus has now spread throughout Europe where the F1 teams are based, leading some to speculate the Australian leg of the event could be under threat.

But the organisers have stated that they were confident the race would take place, while taking all necessary precautions as the global situation unfolded.

“We are all systems go and gearing up for the 25th Formula One race in Melbourne next week,” said Australian GP chief executive Andrew Westacott.

“The finishing touches are being put on the circuit, F1 freight and personnel are arriving in the coming days.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation in the lead-up to the grand prix and are taking guidance from subject matter experts, including Victorian and National Chief Health Officers and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

“At this stage there is no indication of further travel bans, nor is there any indication that Formula One and the teams will not be arriving as usual. Formula One has again confirmed overnight that the Australian Grand Prix is going ahead.”

Westacott said that the Australian Grand Prix Corporation has “robust health, safety and emergency management arrangements in place at each event”.

Air freight including cars for the Melbourne race are expected to leave on Wednesday and Thursday with team personnel flying out shortly afterwards.