New quarantine ruling in Vietnam poses major problem for Ferrari


On the day that officials in Australia insist that the season-opening Grand Prix in Melbourne will go ahead, an update from the Vietnam Tourist Board appears to put next month's Grand Prix in Hanoi in doubt, especially for Ferrari and AlphaTauri.

The Vietnam Tourist Board today states that: "All travellers entering Vietnam from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran must carry out medical declarations and 14-day medical quarantine before entering the country."

The news, though not entirely unexpected, will affect not only Ferrari but AlphaTauri and the Maranello outfit's customer teams Alfa Romeo and Haas.

While Pirelli's tyres are manufactured in Romania and Turkey, many members of the Milan-based company's F1 personnel are based in Italy.

While officials in Australia today insisted that the Melbourne race will go ahead, at the weekend it was announced that the opening two rounds of the MotoGP series in Qatar and Thailand have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus.

Ferrari team boss, Mattia Binotto has revealed that his team sought FOM's "assurance before leaving".

"I don't think we can discover when teams arrive what can be or what will be the situation," he said. "So if there are any medical screenings, we need to know about them. You need to know exactly what's about. We need to understand what the consequences are in case of any problem."

F1 management reportedly responded F1 reportedly with a letter to all teams saying that "those travelling (to Bahrain) from Italy will be subject to travel restrictions. On arrival those individuals will be met from their flights by a dedicated team who will escort them to a specifically created lounge, where a team of doctors will test for the virus in a process that takes approximately three hours."

The letter is understood to have said that authorities in Australia would also screen those coming from affected countries whilst the outlook in Vietnam was more positive as there have been no new cases in the country for 10 days. However, this was before today's update from the Vietnam Tourist Board.

If Ferrari and AlphaTauri are unable to contest the Vietnam race, it could still go ahead as company documents state that F1 "must attempt to procure that at least 16 cars participate in the World Championship".

According to >Forbes, F1's filings add that its "broadcast contracts include a provision to reduce the fee payable to Formula 1 if there are fewer than 15 Events in a season for reasons other than a force majeure event."

The coronavirus is considered by lawyers to be a force majeure, so F1 could be in the clear with broadcasters if there were fewer than 15 races.

However in terms of sponsors and hospitality ticket holders, company documents state that "if an Event is not held, cancelled or does not receive international television coverage (for example, as a result of a technical problem), Formula 1’s fees under the relevant advertising and sponsorship contract are likely to be reduced unless the advertising and sponsorship contract allows Formula 1 to substitute another Event for the cancelled Event and Formula 1 does so.

"If an Event is cancelled, Formula 1 will also be required to refund amounts paid under other arrangements, including amounts paid for tickets to the Paddock Club, the principal high end corporate hospitality offering at certain Event weekends."

The uncertainty is already impacting F1's stock price, shares having lost 21% of their value in the past month, while stock fell a further 3.5% today.

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Published: 02/03/2020
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