Quarantine rule forced Melbourne postponement

F1 could not do what "tennis has been able to do"

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By GMM

13 January 2021 - 11:42
Quarantine rule forced Melbourne (...)

It was Australia’s 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement that triggered the postponement of the season opening grand prix in Melbourne.

Although the tennis grand slam event in the same city is going ahead, state sports minister Martin Pakula said that is only because those international travellers - including all the players - will observe the full quarantine period in hotels.

"Tennis has been able to do that, but it’s not something that has been possible for Formula 1," he said on Wednesday.

"One of the beauties of buying yourself then months is that I suspect things will look different in November to how they look in January," said Pakula, referring to the newly-rescheduled November race date.

He clarified that the Melbourne postponement is not because the F1 teams and authorities simply refused to agree to the quarantine.

"When you look at the arrangements of setting up very, very big businesses, big organisations and the logistics and challenges they face coming into a new season, it wasn’t possible to have them operate in a strict quarantine arrangement," he said.

"They (tennis) were prepared to do that, and I accept the circumstances in F1 are somewhat different. Had they (tennis) not been able to do that we may have been having a similar conversation with tennis."

Pakula added: "It’s not forever. We’ll be certainly very keen to go back to our traditional season opening slot in 2022."

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