Renault fear a Coronavirus case is 'inevitable' at upcoming F1 races

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul fears it is "inevitable" a case of Coronavirus will be found during the first races of the new Formula 1 season.

On Monday, all 10 teams are gathering in Melbourne ahead of the curtain-raiser in Australia and as it stands, everything is set to take place with relative normality.

However, after that, the Bahrain GP will be the first closed doors race in F1 history after fans were banned on Sunday, and there are still questions over Vietnam's inaugural event on April 5.

But by pushing ahead with these races, Abiteboul is concerned the sport is taking risks, while also sending a bad message.

"If you don't want to worry, you have to live on another planet," the Renault boss told France's Canal+. "So yes, of course, I'm worried.

"My team is leaving while we talk, some have already left. Obviously, there is a global development underway and we are obviously very attentive.


"We are attentive to all, our teams, the fans, the sponsors and ourselves, but also we are attentive to the message, and I think we have a duty to set an example, so we have to find a balance between the right reaction and the show must continue, as they say.

“Sport and contractual obligations are very present, but once again the health and well-being of our teams, a hundred people travelling around the world is a real concern, but the continuity of business in factories is another of our concerns.”

Also Read:

Renault has already had to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak after a hotel where Academy drivers were staying in Tenerife was quarantined when cases were confirmed.

One of those drivers, Christian Lundgaard, was then quarantined again upon arrival in Bahrain for a Formula 2 test, missing the event.

And given the unpredictable nature of the Coronavirus, Abiteboul believes it's not a matter of 'if' but 'when' F1 comes into contact.

"It is inevitable that it happens, at some point, in a Grand Prix of Formula 1 and what will happen at that time?" he questioned.

"We also have a duty to take into account what will happen and not wait for events to be imposed on us. It is such a changing situation that we have to be vigilant."

With Italy being one of the hardest-hit countries by the virus, it has been suggested teams like Ferrari, who's Maranello base now sits under a lockdown 'red zone', could be forced to miss races.

"You have to remember that Ferrari is Ferrari, but there are also two other teams that are involved like Alfa Romeo and Haas," the Renault boss said of that possibility.

"In theory, there are three teams. Frankly, I don't know the articles of the Concorde Agreements and what is foreseen in these types of cases, because there are clearly causes of force majeure that should be applied."

Under the commercial agreement, a minimum of 16 cars is needed to hold a championship race though recently, F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn said no official race would take place if any team was barred entry.