F1's Brawn expects Vietnam GP to go ahead
Formula 1’s inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix is still expected to take place as scheduled on 5 April, despite the growing threat of the coronavirus in the Far East, according to Ross Brawn, the sport's managing director.
The virus originated in China and the round in Shanghai, set for 19 April, was postponed yesterday. Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, which is due to stage the country's first-ever grand prix, is only 100 miles from the Chinese border.
However, Brawn told Reuters: "For Vietnam, all the feedback we’re getting is rather like the UK. There have been some cases, but not at a level that would concern us… The advice we’re getting is that it can go ahead there.”
Last week, Vietnam’s government cancelled all national and international sporting events for February and said it would soon be reviewing the situation for events in March.
The Hanoi race has been planned since November 2018, and is due to take place on a specifically-designed street circuit. Earlier this week, the track was named 'Hanoi' and its nine grandstands were christened after destinations around the country, as part of efforts to boost tourism.
The FIA, motor racing’s governing body, said in yesterday’s announcement regarding the Chinese Grand Prix that the postponement had been requested by the city's sporting authorities, and that the decision had been made so as not to put spectators, organisers or teams and their staff at risk.
The FIA and Formula 1 are to “continue to work closely… to monitor the situation," with a view to staging it later in the season.
Yesterday, Vietnam put 10,000 people into isolated quarantine in the Son Hoi community, 30 miles north of Hanoi, due to fears the virus could spread there.
However, there are only 15 live cases of coronavirus in Vietnam so far, and the overland border with China has been closed.
Discussing the possible threat to the Vietnam Grand Prix, Zak Brown, the chief executive of the McLaren team, stated: "We would never do anything that puts our people at risk, and I don’t believe that F1 would.”
Speaking at the launch of the McLaren car for the 2020 season, Brown said: “We will have to deal with the situation as it unfolds, but we would never put any McLaren employee in an uncomfortable situation. Hopefully it is resolved, because other things such as sport don’t matter when it comes to situations like this.”
Other sports to have postponed, cancelled or relocated events in China and Southeast Asia in the last month include athletics, soccer, tennis, basketball, field hockey and golf.
• The Alfa Romeo team has partnered with Huski Chocolate, the Swedish chocolate drinks brand, for the 2020 season.
Sauber Motorsport, the company which operates the team, has signed a year-long deal with Huski, after the pair first partnered in 2019, in a one-race arrangement for the United States Grand Prix.
The brand’s logo will appear on the newly-unveiled C39 race car, and on drivers' race suits and shirts, for the duration of the 2020 campaign.
In addition, Huski chocolate beverages will be provided to team staff, and in the Alfa Romeo hospitality unit.Sportcal