Australia has strict rules for arriving in the country – all foreigners must serve a two-week quarantine. Since it is impossible to organize it for the Formula 1 teams at the beginning of the season, the Grand Prix in Melbourne has been postponed to November.
Victoria Sports Minister Martin Pakula and Australian Grand Prix Corporation executive director Andrew Westacott hope the rules will change by the end of the year and they will be able to sell tickets to the race.
Martin Pakula: “I know that many people wanted to see the Australian Grand Prix in March, but the pandemic has taught us to be flexible and organize big events when we can successfully host them. The transfer of the Grand Prix to November gave us 10 months to prepare. I hope that by this time the epidemiological situation in the world will change and a vaccine will be introduced, which will allow us to organize a great event, invite as many fans as possible and safely hold the Grand Prix.
In tennis, they were able to agree on a two-week quarantine for employees and athletes ahead of the Australian Open. If they could not do this, we would also talk about the transfer.
I understand that in Formula 1 the situation is different, it is impossible to carry out a two-week quarantine before the start of the season, so the best decision was to postpone the race. But this is not forever. We want the Australian Grand Prix to take its traditional place at the start of the season next year. ”
Andrew Westacott: “If you look at how such a large business as Formula 1 is organized, how the teams work, what kind of logistics they have, and what difficulties they face before the start of the season, it is impossible to force them to work in conditions of strict quarantine. But we will try to agree on everything with the authorities and the teams so that the race will take place in November.
Given the difficulties of starting the season in Formula 1, it is impossible to hold a race in March. As organizers, it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of competitors, officials and staff, as well as fans and residents of Victoria. The remaining time before the race, we will devote to developing a set of strict measures to mitigate the possible consequences of a large-scale event. I am confident that the conditions will allow us later to carry out the MotoGP and Formula 1 stages using these measures.
Now we are preparing the infrastructure – by the time of the race, it should be safe in terms of Covid-19 and meet the requirements to combat the spread of the virus proposed by the government of Victoria.
We have a fairly large open-air area and extensive infrastructure that needs to be adapted to these requirements. I think this will allow us to sell race tickets, we hope to launch a lot of tickets on sale.
Of course, everything will depend on where we can sell these tickets. Selling tickets out of state can be difficult, but due to the cancellation of national Grand Prix, many have not received their dose of motorsport, so we expect that not only will come to the race from Victoria, but also from abroad. I hope so”.
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