Ferrari's Sebring presence safe amid Italy quarantine

Gary Watkins

The Italian manufacturer is not expecting any major issues ahead of the Sebring 1000 Miles on March 20, which the AF Corse team will contest with two factory 488 GTEs in GTE Pro and four customer cars in GTE Am.

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It comes after the Italian government imposed a mandatory quarantine on several of its northern regions where the COVID-19 virus had had the biggest impact last weekend, which was then extended to cover the entire country on Monday.

A spokesperson for Ferrari told Motorsport.com: "Many of the people involved in the WEC programme are from outside Italy or areas that are not in the red zone [where the quarantine rules are most strict], plus some are already in the USA.

"We have anticipated the problems and we are ready — we will be there in Sebring."

Public transport remains in operation in Italy despite the quarantine, which has resulted in the cancellation of all sporting events and restrictions on public gatherings. 

The spokesperson explained that the only issue could be the possible cancellation of flights to and from Italy resulting from lack of demand, but he stressed that Ferrari and AF are working to mitigate this possibility. 

The Ferrari factory in Maranello and AF's Piacenza workshops lie in the Emilia-Romagna province, while Michelotto, which builds the 488 GTE WEC racers, is based in Padua. 

Both were among the 14 areas to which a quarantine lasting until April 3 was originally applied prior to its extension.

There is no indication that the 'Super Sebring' meeting that incorporates the WEC race and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's 12-hour race is under threat of cancellation. 

IMSA put out a statement last week explaining that it is monitoring the coronavirus situation and following updates from the World Health Organisation and the Center for Disease Control in the USA.  

"At this time, there are no changes to regular operations and our competition schedule across all series remains unchanged," it stated.