Ferrari en route to Melbourne as Australian GP rules out banning fans

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Ferrari has confirmed their personnel are en route to Melbourne despite Italy's new Coronavirus lockdown.

Fresh questions had been raised over their participation at the Australian Grand Prix after measures were introduced stopping locals from entering and leaving regions in the north of Italy, including Modena, home to Maranello.

However, with some uncertainty over when that quarantine officially goes into effect and whether their staff meet the bar for an exception, Ferrari says travel plans have gone ahead.

“Following measures announced by the Italian Government last night, we are monitoring and evaluating the situation and are in close contact with the relevant authorities and all organisations involved,” a statement read on Sunday.

“For Ferrari, compliance with the Government regulations represents the primary guarantee for ensuring the safety of its employees and their families which is our priority. Every single decision will be made with respect to this principle.

“Part of the team and equipment have already arrived in Melbourne and the departures for the remaining members of the team are going ahead as programmed unless we receive communications to the contrary.”

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Also included in the 'red zone' is Milan-based tyre supplier Pirelli, though there has been no word yet on any impact to their travel plans.

Meanwhile, AlphaTauri is not affected by the new measures and they too have proceeded to Australia as planned.

Indeed, now the big unknown seems to be what will happen when the Ferrari personnel arrive back in Italy following the Bahrain GP, a week after Melbourne.

Speaking of the event at Sakhir, on Sunday, organisers confirmed no fans will be present due to Coronavirus, making it the first F1 race behind closed doors in history.

But when asked if the Australian GP could be forced into a similar move, race CEO Andrew Westacott firmly said no.

"Not a chance,” Westacott told radio broadcaster SEN. "When you look at 86,000 at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) last night, and the footy the week after, we’ve got to go around things sensibly and keep moving on through life while taking the necessary precautions.

"The interesting thing is the Italian freight. The AlphaTauri cars and the Ferrari cars are on their way from Avalon [airport] as we speak, so it’s really good. The key personnel are on their planes.

"Interestingly, the only two people who didn’t hail from Italy were Sebastian Vettel, who came out of Switzerland, and Charles Leclerc coming out of Monaco via Nice.

"All the others are on their way, and we’re expecting [them] in the next 12 to 24 hours."