Feb.21 (GMM) Formula 1 is pressing ahead with preparations for the Vietnam GP, according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
The country is just across the border from China, which is in the grip of the coronavirus crisis.
The situation is even affecting the F1 test paddock in Barcelona, where McLaren banned Chinese journalist Frankie Mao from entering the team’s motorhome.
“The team explained to me that it was a requirement of the company,” Mao told Bild newspaper. “We are in contact, and they told me that they are sorry.”
However, organisers of the inaugural Hanoi street race say they are determined not to cancel or postpone their April event.
As a result, the German broadcaster RTL has announced that it will not send its travelling crew to Vietnam.
Horner was asked about the Vietnam situation in Barcelona, and said: “According to the information we have from FOM, the situation is under control at the moment and the race is scheduled to go ahead.”
He also played down suggestions that China’s postponed race could be slotted into the busy end to the 2020 calendar.
“The end of the season is already very stressful, especially for the team staff,” said Horner. “But it also depends on the situation in the championship.”
Indeed, re-scheduling a race would require full unanimity among all ten F1 teams, which is always unlikely.
“If you’re in a good position in the championship, you don’t want to add a race, and if you’re behind, you will certainly vote for it,” Horner said.
As it stands, there is now a full month between the Vietnamese and Dutch rounds, and that gap will grow even bigger if Hanoi is called off.
“We’re not used to having so much rest during a season,” Horner smiled. “It’s pretty unusual to get a summer break in April!”