Teams to 'monitor' potential Vietnam GP axe

Feb.14 (GMM) F1 teams are going to “monitor the situation” amid speculation the inaugural Vietnam GP could be the next victim of coronavirus.

As deaths surge to almost 1400, F1’s Chinese round in April has already been postponed. But with Vietnam just across the border from China, there are also doubts about the viability of the Hanoi race.

This week, F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn said Vietnam should be able to go ahead.

But he spoke before the Vietnamese government announced that 10,000 people had been quarantined in a town just 50 kilometres north-west of Hanoi.

A spokesman for Brawn said: “We can only confirm that Vietnam is on the schedule.”

Zak Brown said at the launch of McLaren’s 2020 car on Thursday: “Vietnam is not being raised yet as a potential issue. But obviously it is very nearby.

“We’re going to monitor the situation and we will never do anything that puts our people at risk.”

A media source in Vietnam said race promoters were proceeding with preparations for the April race as normal, and will also take ‘necessary measures’ against the worsening epidemic.

And as his DTM race seat for 2020 was announced on Thursday, Robert Kubica also said he backed measures to protect people against infection.

“I think health is the most important thing and one should not underestimate what is happening,” he is quoted by Przeglad Sportowy.

“I hope the situation will improve very quickly, or at least not get worse.”

If Vietnam is also cancelled, it will create a massive six-week gap in the otherwise bustling 2020 calendar.

“This is obviously a new situation for all of us,” said McLaren supremo Brawn. “But if there’s a month off, then there’s a month off.”

Renault driver Esteban Ocon also said of the prospective calendar gap: “Believe me, the teams will find things to do.”

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