Daniel Ricciardo has declared the Australian Grand Prix can’t go ahead if Ferrari aren’t allowed into the country due to coronavirus.
Italy, home to the sport's oldest, most glamorous and most successful team Ferrari, is one of the countries most affected by the epidemic with more than 50 deaths and over 2000 confirmed cases.
Some countries including Vietnam, which hosts its first ever Grand Prix on April 5, have imposed quarantine periods on anyone who has come from or been in Italy during a two-week period prior to entry.
That has raised concern in some quarters about Ferrari's ability to participate, particularly with the Australian GP set to take place next weekend.
“The race can’t go ahead without a full grid. I don’t think it would be right to race without all 10 teams and all 20 drivers,” Ricciardo told The Age and the Herald on Friday.
“If, say, Ferrari and AlphaTauri couldn’t compete and we went ahead, it wouldn’t be fair on them.
“It’s not like they’d been disqualified from racing for, say, a technical infringement. It just wouldn’t be right.”
Races won’t go ahead without full field
Motorsport managing director Ross Brawn echoed that sentiment on Thursday.
“If a team is prevented from entering a country we can't have a race. Not a Formula One world championship race, anyway, because that would be unfair,” Brawn told Reuters at a sponsorship signing with betting partner 188BET.
“Obviously if a team makes its own choice not to go to a race, that's their decision.
“But where a team is prevented from going to a race because of a decision of the country then it's difficult to have a fair competition.”
The Formula One season starts in Melbourne on March 15, with Bahrain the weekend after.
The Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for Shanghai on April 19 has already been called off as a result of the virus.
MotoGP cancelled its opening round in Qatar this weekend after the Gulf state imposed quarantine on visitors arriving from Italy.
Brawn said Formula One was negotiating with the Vietnamese health authorities.
Brawn said the Australian authorities were happy to continue with their race and Formula One was co-operating on checks and measures.
“It's a very serious situation, so I don't want to underplay it. But we're trying to have races. We've got to do them in a responsible way,” he added.
“We're minimising the number of people in the paddock, we're asking the teams to send a minimum number of people they need to a race,” he explained.
There are also plans for a charter to take Formula One's Italian contingent directly from Melbourne to Bahrain, without anyone leaving the plane during any refuelling stopover, and with screening on arrival.