Australian GP set to go ahead but coronavirus cases being monitored

There is no indication F1 teams will not arrive in Melbourne as normal, but the situation around the coronavirus is being closely monitored.

Valterri Bottas won the Australian Grand Prix in 2019.

Valterri Bottas won the Australian Grand Prix in 2019.   -  Getty Images

Despite fears over the coronavirus, the CEO of the Australian Grand Prix corporation says it is "all systems go" for the opening race of the Formula One calendar at Albert Park next week. 

Sixty-five countries now have cases of the virus. The total number of confirmed cases is 88,930, with 3,043 deaths.

The first two MotoGP races of the season have been affected by spread of the virus, with the Thailand Grand Prix postponed on Monday after the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix was cancelled. Thailand has 42 cases of the virus and Qatar three.

Read | Qatar MotoGP cancelled due to coronavirus

Australia has 27 confirmed cases, however, while CEO Andrew Westacott said the situation is being closely monitored, there is no indication the race will not go ahead as normal.

"We are all systems go and gearing up for the 25th Formula 1 race in Melbourne next week," Westacott said.

"The finishing touches are being put on the circuit, Formula 1 freight and personnel are arriving in the coming days and we're looking forward to opening the gates to the public on Thursday 12 March.

"The health and safety of everyone at the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2020 is paramount. The Australian Grand Prix Corporation has robust health, safety and emergency management arrangements in place at each event and we are working collaboratively with health agencies and related government and emergency services organisations in addressing this matter.

Also read | More uncertainty around Serie A due to coronavirus but Juve-Milan to go ahead

"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 1 and the teams will not be arriving as usual.

"Formula 1 has again confirmed overnight that the Australian Grand Prix is going ahead and we're looking forward to welcoming them and the teams to Melbourne."

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