The Australian F1 Grand Prix won’t have a Novak Djokovic-esque vaccine saga after organisers announced a hard line stance.
Organisers of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix have confirmed there will be a “zero tolerance” approach on vaccine exemptions, making it mandatory for all participants to be vaccinated.
Australian F1 Grand Prix chief executive Andrew Westacott said the conditions for the event were clear — all drivers, pit crew, staff and spectators have to be fully vaccinated to be involved in the race.
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“The rules are simple to get into the country and the rules are simple to operate in Formula One,” he said.
“To come into the event you’ll be 100 per cent vaccinated and there won’t be an exemption sought for anyone from anyone.”
The Grand Prix’s hard line policy means there will be no repeat of the Novak Djokovic exemption saga that overshadowed the lead-up to the Australian Open.
“Our arrangements have been in place well before the recent goings-on at the Australian Open,” Westacott said.
“These rules are understood by Formula One, they’re understood by the FIA, they’re going to be written into the sporting regulations and I’m very confident that (it) is just going to be a rite of passage to come into the country.
“There’s zero tolerance. Whether you’re Lewis Hamilton or Valentino Rossi in MotoGP, if you test positive, you don’t race that weekend.”
The entire F1 grid is believed to be fully vaccinated, and several leading drivers including Daniel Ricciardo have voiced their support for vaccines.
On top of the drivers, fans and all staff in the paddock will have to be vaccinated to attend the Grand Prix in Melbourne on April 10.
But the organisers have declared it will be a case of third time lucky and there is no chance of it being cancelled this year.
“I’ll go on record and say zero chance of cancellation,” Westacott said.
The Albert Park circuit in Melbourne has undergone a revamp, with the track resurfaced for the first time in 25 years.
The freshen-up is expected to cut lap times by five seconds, while the widening of several turns is expected to create more overtaking opportunities.
“The widening of five other turns, particularly the increase of speed at Turn 6 where they’re going to go from about 90 km/h to 150 km/h, that really does set it up for speeds in excess of 330 k /h around Lakeside (Drive), pulling four and a half Gs,” Westacott said.
The Australian Grand Prix is the third race of the F1 season and will run from April 8-10.