The revamped 2020 MotoGP season will not include trips to Australia and Britain after both races were cancelled on Friday.

Organisers Dorna Sports released a statement confirming the British Grand Prix, scheduled for Silverstone on August 30, will not take place as planned due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement means there will be no MotoGP visit to the British Isles for the first time in the Championship's history.

Phillip Island was also due to host the Australian Grand Prix on October 25, but that too has now been removed from the list of venues for this year.

"We're saddened to have to announce the cancellation of these iconic events after finding no way through the logistical and operational issues resulting from the pandemic and rearranged calendar," Carmelo Ezpeleta - CEO of Dorna Sports - said.

"Silverstone and Phillip Island are always two of the most thrilling race weekends of the season, with both tracks never failing in their promise to deliver some of the closest racing in our championship.

“On behalf of Dorna, I would like to once again extend my thanks to the fans for their understanding and patience as we wait for the situation to improve.

"We look forward to returning to Silverstone and Phillip Island next year for more incredible battles."

Dorna Sports had previously stated their hopes for a 16-race season, including plans for a double-header at Jerez in Spain during July.

The scheduled opener in Qatar was the first to be cancelled this year due to the health pandemic, followed by races in the Netherlands, Finland and Germany.

Formula One CEO Chase Carey apologised to fans for the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic and pledged to resume the 2020 season as soon as possible in an open letter released on Tuesday.

The F1 season was due to resume this past weekend with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, however it was cancelled in the wake of McLaren withdrawing following one of their crew members testing positive for COVID-19.

Races in Bahrain, Vietnam and China have had to be temporarily shelved as well, leaving F1 with a revised start date of May 3.

Ross Brawn, F1's managing director of motorsports, has since suggested the postponed races could take place in August when the season typically takes a four-week break.

Carey was unable to offer much of an update given the "fluidity" of the situation, but he stressed F1 will resume at the earliest possible opportunity.

In an open letter published to the F1 website, Carey wrote: "We wanted to provide some thoughts and perspectives from last week as we address the coronavirus pandemic.

"First and foremost, our priority is the health and safety of the fans, teams, and organisations of Formula One, as well as wider society.

"We apologise to those fans affected by the cancellation in Australia, as well as the postponement of the other races to date. These decisions are being made by Formula One, the FIA, and our local promoters in rapidly changing and evolving circumstances, but we believe they are the right and necessary ones. We also want to extend our thoughts to those already affected, including those in the Formula One family.

"We recognise everyone wants to know what comes next for Formula One in 2020. We cannot provide specific answers today given the fluidity of the situation. However, we plan to get the 2020 Championship season underway as soon as it's safe to do so.

"We are engaging with experts and officials on a daily basis as we evaluate how we go forward in the next few months."

The world's leading sporting competitions have been halted amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With almost 160,000 confirmed cases of the virus and close to 6,000 deaths, athletes across the globe are waiting to learn when they will return to work.

We take a look at the provisional return dates set out so far.
 

BASKETBALL

The NBA came to a sudden stop when a Utah Jazz player - later revealed to be Rudy Gobert - tested positive on Wednesday, and league commissioner Adam Silver warned the hiatus would "be most likely at least 30 days".

CRICKET

International cricket has been pushed back, but there are no firm dates as things stand for rescheduled matches. England's two-match Test tour of Sri Lanka was called off midway through a warm-up match, while the ODI series between India and South Africa was postponed after the first of three matches was washed out. Australia won an opening ODI against New Zealand behind closed doors, but the remaining two 50-over matches were delayed, along with a three-match Twenty20 series. There is at least a provisional date for the Indian Premier League to belatedly start: April 15, pushed back from March 29.

FOOTBALL

European football is at a standstill, with the Champions League among the elite-level competitions suspended. UEFA is set to meet to discuss the future of that tournament and Euro 2020 this week, while FIFA has advised postponements of upcoming international fixtures, for which clubs are no longer required to release their players. The Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A are all paused at least until April 3 although the Bundesliga has only called off one matchweek as things stand, while Ligue 1 is off "until further notice".

GOLF

The PGA Tour initially announced a three-week suspension, with The Players Championship stopped after its opening round. The Masters - won in 2019 by Tiger Woods - was therefore set to mark the Tour's return on April 9, but organisers soon announced the first major of the year would also be postponed. The RBC Heritage on April 16 is the next scheduled tournament. Organisers are planning "regular status updates in the coming weeks" amid "a very fluid situation that requires constant review, communication, and transparency".

MOTORSPORT

The Formula One season is still to start after races in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam and China were postponed or cancelled. The Dutch Grand Prix on May 3 remains on at this stage, however, while managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn has suggested the calendar could be reshuffled, with races held in August. NASCAR has postponed events in Atlanta and Miami this and next weekend, and all IndyCar Series races through April have been cancelled.

RUGBY

Rugby league has largely been able to continue both in England and in Australia, but the same is not true of rugby union. Six Nations matches were among the first to fall by the wayside amid the crisis in Italy, with the Azzurri seeing matches against both Ireland and England postponed until later in the year. France versus Ireland was off, too, while Scotland's trip to Wales belatedly followed suit. Club action has ground to a halt, with Super Rugby finally paused this weekend and no return imminent.

TENNIS

After Indian Wells and then the Miami Open were cancelled, the ATP Tour announced its suspension up to and including the week of April 20. The WTA Tour preferred to call off individual events, but the schedule is now clear for five weeks. It was still to make a decision on the European clay-court season. The Fed Cup finals and play-offs - set for mid-April - have been pushed back, meanwhile, with the ITF vowing to address any impact the postponement may have on players' eligibility for Tokyo 2020.

OTHERS

Despite chaos surrounding various sports across the globe, Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe says the country is still planning for the Olympic Games in Tokyo to go ahead as scheduled in July. The London Marathon and the Boston Marathon will both still go ahead this year, but with revised dates of October 4 and September 14, respectively. The Giro d'Italia will be postponed and a new date for the race will not be announced until at least April 3 when a decree in Italy banning sport ends. The NBA is not the only American competition to be disrupted, meanwhile, with the 2020 MLB season moved back "at least two weeks" from March 26, and the NHL campaign paused indefinitely.

Elite-level sport has been paused across the globe due to the coronavirus pandemic that now has over 150,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

In a bid to contain the spread of the virus, competitions have steadily been halted over recent weeks.

Each of Europe's top five football leagues are off, along with the Champions League, while the NBA came to a sudden stop on Wednesday.

Motorsport was hit as Formula One's Australian Grand Prix was postponed, while cricket, tennis, golf, hockey and, initially to a lesser extent, rugby all also took stock.

In a peculiar period with a vastly reduced sporting schedule, a number of stars were therefore left to make alternative plans.

Reigning NBA MVP and leading 2019-20 candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo did not last long before he commented on the boredom he was enduring in the absence of basketball.

The Greek Freak posted on Twitter late on Friday: "If this is how my life is going to be after basketball, I'm not retiring for a long time. #25yearCareer"

Antetokounmpo tagged his girlfriend Mariah Riddlesprigger, who replied: "You will literally drive me crazy so the longer the better."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was revelling in some family time, however, marking Friday 13 by watching a horror movie.

James then filmed his children as they performed a dance for their TikTok accounts, which their famous father promoted on his Instagram story.

F1 champion Lewis Hamilton found a different way to spend his time as the start of the new season was delayed, meanwhile.

"Gutted to not be qualifying today," he wrote on Saturday. "I decided to stick around Melbourne and go indoor rock climbing. It's a great way for me to keep focused."

Hamilton may not have been out on the track, but European Tour golfer Matthias Schwab was – virtually.

The Austrian shared a clip as he multi-tasked, playing a motorsport videogame while keeping fit on his exercise bike.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid had been due to take to the field on Friday before LaLiga went into lockdown, but Sergio Ramos entertained himself and his family.

The Madrid captain uploaded an image to his Instagram story of he and two of his children sporting matching hairstyles.

Ramos added two hashtags, reading, "I stay at home," "We stay at home".

Inter's on-loan Manchester United striker Alexis Sanchez was among the other players left to train at home, and he called his dogs in to help.

The Chile international posted a video, set to Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want To Have Fun, as he juggled a ball with his dogs in pursuit.

Ross Brawn said races could be staged during August as part of a reshuffle of the 2020 Formula One calendar. 

The season is currently scheduled to start on May 3 with the Dutch Grand Prix, after races in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam and China were cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Brawn, F1's managing director of motorsports, said the four-week period in August - when the season typically takes a break - could be used to reschedule missed races. 

"Maybe we take a hiatus, we take a pause, and then we use that opportunity to say, 'Right, for this time at the beginning of the year we won't have any races, we'll look at relocating those races later in the year’," he told Sky Sports. 

"I think by freeing up the August break, we give ourselves several weekends where we can have a race. And I think we can build a pretty decent calendar for the rest of the year. 

"It will look different, but it will still preserve a good number of races, and they're exciting races. So, the season's going to start later, but I think it will be just as entertaining." 

The organisers of the Dutch and Spanish Grands Prix are in consultation with F1 and motorsport governing body the FIA, with the end of May said to be a more likely target for hosting those events. 

Brawn offered a positive outlook on the chances of completing the season, despite admitting the sport is in "unchartered territory". 

He said: "I'm pretty optimistic that we can have a good 17-to-18-race championship or more. 

"I think we can squeeze them in. But it depends on when the season will start." 

Formula One champion and Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton should not join Ferrari, according to former chief Bernie Ecclestone.

Hamilton is in the final year of his Mercedes deal and the six-time F1 world champion continues to be linked with a move to rivals Ferrari.

The 35-year-old driver – whose title defence has been put on hold after the season-opening Australian Grand Prix was cancelled due to coronavirus – is in no hurry to hold negotiations, while Mercedes are relaxed amid the speculation.

Ex-F1 supremo Ecclestone does not believe Hamilton should swap Mercedes for Ferrari at the end of the 2020 season.

"If I were Lewis I would stay at Mercedes," Ecclestone, 89, told the Daily Mail.

"He is comfortable there. He is in charge. He's got the guy who turns the lights on and off supporting him [team principal Toto Wolff].

"It wouldn't work at Ferrari for him. They are Italians. He would have to really learn the language so he'd know what they were saying behind his back, for a start.

"The problem with all the Italians, they don't want a fight, don't want an argument with anyone. Instead of saying to someone who is doing a bad job, 'Sort yourself out or I'll sort you out — please yourself, but I want results,' they say, 'Let's have dinner so we can talk about it. Be friends'.

"If I were a team boss I'd sign Max [Verstappen from Red Bull]. He's quick and easy to deal with. If I had Lewis I'd just tell him what time the next race starts and say be there for then. Apart from that he could do whatever he wants.

"I'd cut his pay and let him do his own sponsorship, anything. Mercedes try to rein him in a bit. I'd give him total freedom."

 

Formula One chief executive Chase Carey hit back at Lewis Hamilton's claim that "cash is king" after cancelling the Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton had on Thursday questioned the decision to go ahead with the opening race of the F1 season, a day before it was cancelled due to coronavirus fears.

The Mercedes star said "cash is king" when asked why the race was going ahead, but Carey hit back at that suggestion on Friday.

"I guess if cash was king we wouldn't have made the decision we did today," he told a news conference.

"In hindsight obviously things look different. There were events that evolved, situations that changed.

"We made a decision which given the lead time to come here, hold the event, at a point in time where major events were being held here, it was a different situation in the world, travelled, came, as the situation changed day to day and in some ways hour to hour obviously we continued to evaluate that and make the appropriate decisions going forward.

"I do think we were trying to digest a lot of different information to make the right decision at the right time and I think we did that."

Australian Grand Prix organisers are still hopeful the race may be held at another time in 2020, but uncertainty remains over the schedule.

Carey said decisions would be made in the coming days relating to upcoming events, with the Bahrain Grand Prix scheduled to be held behind closed doors on March 22.

"At this point our focus is really dealing with the issues this weekend," he said.

"Clearly I just came in from Vietnam so we are in discussion with partners about the upcoming races, but I think at this point what we really want to do is deal with the issues here and deal with them properly, but in the coming days clearly we will be addressing the events yet to come.

"It's a pretty difficult situation to really predict. Everybody is using the word fluid, it is obviously a fluid situation, the situation today is different than it was two days ago which is different than it was four days ago."

Lewis Hamilton backed the decision to cancel the Australian Grand Prix amid coronavirus fears.

Formula One announced on Friday it had cancelled the opening race of the season, which was due to be held in Melbourne on Sunday.

McLaren had already pulled out of the race after a member of their crew tested positive for coronavirus.

Mercedes star and six-time world champion Hamilton, who questioned the race going ahead during a news conference on Thursday, said it was the right call.

"Sadly, this is the right decision," he wrote on Twitter.

"No one wants this, we all want to get in our cars and get racing, but we have to be realistic and we must put health and safety first.

"The reality is, this is really serious with people dying every day, lots of people ill and even if they are not ill, many people being affected financially and emotionally.

"No one really knows the extent of what we are dealing with, but we should all take precautions to keep as many people as safe as possible.

"I know it's disappointing, as sport unites us when times are tough, but it's the right call. Listen to the advice everyone, keep safe.

"Hope to be back racing soon but in the meantime look after yourselves."

The Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled to go ahead behind closed doors on March 22.

The coronavirus has killed almost 5,000 people worldwide, while there have been more than 134,000 cases.

This weekend's Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled, Formula One announced on Friday.

McLaren had already pulled out of the race after a member of their crew tested positive for coronavirus while in Melbourne having shown symptoms and gone into self-isolation.

That has eventually led to Sunday’s season-opening race being called off, after late-night talks between senior officials from all teams.

"Formula 1 and the FIA, with the full support of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC), have taken the decision that all Formula 1 activity for the Australian Grand Prix is cancelled," F1 said on Twitter.

McLaren said their own withdrawal came out of "a duty of care not only to McLaren F1 employees and partners" as well as "the team's competitors, Formula 1 fans and wider F1 stakeholders".

Initial reports claimed the race would go ahead as planned; however, it was later announced the race had been cancelled.

Earlier in the day, world champion Lewis Hamilton questioned why racing was going ahead while the world attempts to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

First practice was due to take place on Friday, with qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.

Many sport events were called off on Thursday, including upcoming Champions League football matches in Europe that were due to involve Manchester City, Real Madrid, Juventus and Lyon.

Basketball's NBA has postponed games indefinitely and tennis' ATP Tour said it had cancelled tournaments for the next six weeks.

The coronavirus pandemic continued to lead to widescale disruption in the world of sport on Thursday.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in the ATP Tour being suspended for six weeks, while the PGA Tour will be played behind closed doors until April 5.

Football in Spain, the Netherlands, the United States and Portugal has been put on hiatus, while Champions League games between Manchester City and Real Madrid, and Juventus and Lyon have been postponed.

A second Serie A player has been confirmed to have contracted coronavirus, while the Utah Jazz announced a second positive test for COVID-19. Donovan Mitchell confirmed he was the latest individual with the infection, while Rudy Gobert is reported to be the other.

We look at the biggest events to have been impacted by the proliferation of the virus.

 

A six-week suspension was implemented by the ATP Tour, which it said came in the wake of the World Health Organization declaring the spread of COVID-19 constituted a pandemic and 30-day travel restrictions imposed by the United States.

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: "This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide. However, we believe this is the responsible action needed at this time in order to protect the health and safety of our players, staff, the wider tennis community and general public health in the face of this global pandemic."

The WTA Tour was yet to follow suit, but the Miami Open has been scratched from its schedule after a state of emergency was declared in Miami-Dade County.

Following the news that LaLiga had suspended its next two matchdays and Real Madrid had established a self-imposed quarantine in the wake of one of their basketball players testing positive for COVID-19, Los Blancos' Champions League last-16 second leg against Manchester City on Tuesday was postponed.

The meeting between Juventus and Lyon has also been pushed back after Daniele Rugani was confirmed to have contracted coronavirus and the Serie A champions implemented isolation procedures.

UEFA will hold a videoconference with European football stakeholders on Tuesday to discuss the response to the outbreak. The talks will include all domestic and European competitions, including Euro 2020.

Bosnia-Herzegovina has requested its Euro 2020 play-off against Northern Ireland on March 26 be postponed, while Denmark expects its friendly against England five days later to be cancelled.

One game that has been cancelled is Wales' friendly against the United States on March 30.

Sampdoria announced Manolo Gabbiadini was the second professional Serie A player to test positive. The club said he had "a slight fever, but is otherwise fine". On Sunday Gabbiadini played 61 minutes against Hellas Verona, who also activated isolation procedures as a result.

Hannover confirmed a second case of coronavirus in their squad, with Jannes Horn following Timo Hubers in testing positive. All players from the German team will be under home quarantine for the next 14 days, with the club asking for their upcoming 2.Bundesliga games against Dynamo Dresden and Osnabruck to be called off.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers revealed three of his players have shown symptoms of coronavirus and have been isolated from their team-mates. Stats Perform understands all players put into isolation have only displayed mild symptoms, meaning they have not met the threshold to be tested for the virus.

In the Netherlands, all football has been cancelled until March 31. This includes amateur and professional games, as well as the national team's fixtures against the USA and Spain.

Portugal's Primeira Liga and the CONCACAF Champions League have been postponed for an indefinite period, while MLS has been suspended for the next 30 days.

Elsewhere in the USA, the NHL season has been paused. Comissioner Gary Bettman said: "Following last night's news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus - and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point - it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time."

The PGA Tour will continue as scheduled, though fans will be barred from attending events starting from Friday at the Players Championship until the Texas Open, which finishes on April 5.

However, the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship has been cancelled due to potential logistical issues associated with players and staff travelling internationally.

The Washington Wizards have imposed self-isolation on players, coaches and basketball operations personnel for three to four days. The Wizards played the Jazz – who have confirmed two cases of coronavirus among their roster – on February 29 and the New York Knicks on March 10. The Knicks had a game with Utah six days before the Wizards did.

The Jazz's second positive test came after their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday was called off. Mitchell said on Instagram: "Thanks to everyone who has been reaching out since hearing the news about my positive test. We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realise that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them."

After the NCAA announced no fans would be permitted at March Madness, the American, Atlantic 10, C-USA, MAC, America East, Big East, Big Sky and WAC announced their conference tournaments had been cancelled.

The Washington Redskins became the first NFL team to announce a change in protocol in relation to the coronavirus. Redskins owner Dan Snyder said: "Due to health and travel concerns surrounding COVID-19, Redskins have informed all coaches and scouts to suspend all travel until further notice."

Promoters Top Rank have confirmed their upcoming boxing shows at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden will go ahead behind closed doors.

Shakur Stevenson is scheduled to defend his WBO featherweight world title against Miguel Marriaga in the main event on Friday's card in New York, while Michael Conlan headlines next Tuesday when he takes on Belmar Preciado in a 10-round contest.

The remaining two ODIs between India and South Africa will also be played behind closed doors, the International Cricket Council announced. There will also be no fans at Pakistan Super League games in Karachi.

In rugby union, the Pro14 has been indefinitely suspended. A statement said: "Resumption of the 2019-20 season will now become a matter of constant review. To this point Pro14 Rugby has ensured that it has the latest information and guidance made available by the local and national authorities via our participating unions in the UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa."

However, the quarter-finals in the European Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup remain set to go ahead as planned.

The next two NASCAR events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway over the next two weekends will be undertaken behind closed doors.

McLaren have withdrawn from this weekend's season-opening Formula One Australian Grand Prix after a team member tested positive for coronavirus.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that a member of staff was in isolation after "showing symptoms similar to coronavirus".

McLaren have since revealed a positive test, resulting in their withdrawal and potentially putting the entire race in doubt.

A McLaren statement read: "McLaren Racing has confirmed this evening in Melbourne that it has withdrawn from the 2020 Formula One Australian Grand Prix, following the positive test of a team member for coronavirus.

"The team member was tested and self-isolated as soon as they started to show symptoms and will now be treated by local healthcare authorities.

"The team has prepared for this eventuality and has ongoing support in place for its employee, who will now enter a period of quarantine.

"The team is cooperating with the relevant local authorities to assist their investigations and analysis.

"Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, and Andreas Seidl, team principal of McLaren F1, informed Formula One and the FIA of the decision this evening.

"The decision has been taken based on a duty of care not only to McLaren F1 employees and partners, but also to the team's competitors, Formula One fans and wider F1 stakeholders."

Media reports on Thursday suggested at least eight members across all F1 teams have been tested for the virus.

It remains to be seen whether the race in Melbourne will now go ahead as scheduled, with defending champion Lewis Hamilton conceding earlier in the day he was "very surprised" it had not already been postponed.

Lewis Hamilton questioned the decision to go ahead with the Australian Grand Prix amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying he was "very surprised".

The Mercedes star will be aiming to make a winning start to the Formula One season in Melbourne on Sunday.

But it comes despite more than 4,600 people dying and more than 126,000 contracting coronavirus, which has impacted countries and sports around the world.

Hamilton admitted he was shocked to see the F1 campaign beginning as planned, with the NBA the latest competition affected as it suspended its season on Wednesday.

"I am very, very surprised we are here," the Brit told a news conference on Thursday.

"It is great we have races but for me it is shocking that we are all sitting in this room.

"It seems like the rest of the world is reacting, probably a bit late. The NBA has been suspended yet F1 continues to go on."

Reports suggest several F1 staff are awaiting the results of tests for coronavirus.

Hamilton, a six-time world champion, urged fans to remain cautious during the weekend.

"The fact is we are here and I just encourage everyone to be as careful as you can be in touching doors and surfaces and I hope everyone has hand sanitiser," he said.

''I really, really hope the fans take precautions. Walking through and seeing everything go ahead as normal, just like a normal day."

A member of the McLaren Formula One team at the Australian Grand Prix is in self-isolation after "showing symptoms similar to coronavirus".

The season-opening race in Melbourne on Sunday is currently due to go ahead as originally planned, with spectators present.

However, race officials said on Wednesday they are "monitoring the situation", announcing there are three team personnel in total currently self-isolating.

A McLaren spokesperson said: "We can confirm that one team member has self-isolated in the hotel as a precaution, in line with our policy, after showing symptoms similar to coronavirus.

"We are awaiting test results and currently do not have a definitive timeframe for these. The team is operating as per our normal schedule."

According to widespread reports, two members of the Haas team are also self-isolating.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott said: "The Australian Grand Prix Corporation has been informed of three Formula 1 team personnel presenting for precautionary testing and who are now all undergoing precautionary self-isolation.

"The AGPC is monitoring the situation in conjunction with Formula 1 and [motorsport's world governing body] the FIA."

The news comes at a time when a host of major sporting events around the world are being cancelled, postponed or contested behind closed doors.

Next week's Bahrain Grand Prix will be staged without spectators owing to coronavirus concerns.

Despite fears over the coronavirus, the CEO of the Australian Grand Prix corporation says it is "all systems go" for the opening race of the Formula One calendar at Albert Park next week. 

Sixty-five countries now have cases of the virus. The total number of confirmed cases is 88,930, with 3,043 deaths.

The first two MotoGP races of the season have been affected by spread of the virus, with the Thailand Grand Prix was postponed on Monday after the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix was cancelled. Thailand has 42 cases of the virus and Qatar three.

Australia has 27 confirmed cases, however, while CEO Andrew Westacott said the situation is being closely monitored, there is no indication the race will not go ahead as normal.

"We are all systems go and gearing up for the 25th Formula 1 race in Melbourne next week," Westacott said.

"The finishing touches are being put on the circuit, Formula 1 freight and personnel are arriving in the coming days and we're looking forward to opening the gates to the public on Thursday 12 March.

"The health and safety of everyone at the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2020 is paramount. The Australian Grand Prix Corporation has robust health, safety and emergency management arrangements in place at each event and we are working collaboratively with health agencies and related government and emergency services organisations in addressing this matter.

"We continue to closely monitor the situation in the lead-up to the Grand Prix and are taking guidance from subject matter experts, including Victorian and National Chief Health Officers and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

"At this stage there is no indication of further travel bans, nor is there any indication that Formula 1 and the teams will not be arriving as usual.

"Formula 1 has again confirmed overnight that the Australian Grand Prix is going ahead and we're looking forward to welcoming them and the teams to Melbourne."

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.

 

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."

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