F1's Australian GP to go ahead despite coronavirus concerns, minister says

Formula One's season-opening Australian Grand Prix will go ahead as planned despite coronavirus concerns, the government of Victoria has confirmed.

Ferrari and Alpha Tauri are based in northern Italy, where cases of infection have this week surged to 400.

The global outbreak – which originated in China and caused the postponement of April's race in Shanghai – has prompted speculation about the suitability of staging the opening grands prix, the first of which is scheduled to take place in Melbourne on March 15.

However, Victoria's minister for tourism, sport and major events Martin Pakula said the event will run to plan.

"Melbourne is the only city in the world to host a Formula One race and a grand slam tennis tournament, and we look forward to the grand prix celebrating 25 years at Albert Park on March 15," said Pakula.

F1 will head to Bahrain the following weekend, with the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix third on the calendar.

F1 chief executive Chase Carey

Chase Carey, the chief executive of F1, has no doubts the events will go ahead despite there being coronavirus cases in the countries.

"The Vietnam Grand Prix will take place on April 5 at Hanoi, and to anticipate another question, we do plan to proceed with the race," he said during a conference call this week.

"I talked to our Vietnamese partners, and I plan to stop in Hanoi on March 16 on my way back to London from Australia, and all systems are a go. 

"Other than China, I guess, again, with a particular focus on the races beginning of the year, they're all going.

"We're heading to Melbourne, heading to Bahrain, heading to Hanoi. Although, to state the obvious, we've got to see what evolves in the coming days."