Australian GP organisers said they were confident that all parties, including federal and state governments as well as Formula 1 itself, were aware of the entry requirements for both Australia and the Albert Park venue. This awareness, according to the organisers, should prevent a repeat of the Djokovic case.
In the last few weeks, Australia has made its way through international news as tennis player Novak Djokovic made the headlines when he was found to have entered the country despite not being vaccinated.
The unvaccinated sportsman had initially been given an exemption to travel to Australia. He was subsequently heard in front of Australian judges who decided he had no right to be given special passes.
Eventually, he was deported before the Australian Open started after it was found he’d been dishonest with regards to his travel history in his days prior to arrival in Melbourne.
Just days after what happened in the tennis world, Australian GP organizers announced that personnel entering the country as part of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix will not receive exemptions.
Melbourne hosts F1 in April for the third round of the 2022 season amid a backdrop of easing COVID restrictions.
However, protocols remain in place in an effort to limit the transmission of the virus with requirements for entering the country mandating full vaccination or a medical exemption.
Organisers of the Australian Grand Prix have confirmed it will not be applying for exemptions for individuals.
“There’s a set of agreed protocols and processes, but it’s all predicated on two simple provisos; that the contingent is 100 percent vaccinated, there will not be any exemptions sought or issued,” Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO, Andrew Westacott, told Speedcafe.com
“They will then come into the country and operate in a manner that Formula 1 has consistently operated in.”
By not seeking exemptions for personnel travelling with the Australian Grand Prix, the CEO hopes to avoid a similar public relations firestorm from engulfing his event.
“You’ve got to look at it from a continuity perspective,” Westacott claimed, “they will still have their rules about the paddock, you don’t get into the paddock unless you test negative, you don’t get into the venue, the paddock, the circuit, or the country unless you’re fully vaccinated.
“So there’ll be the operating regime, and what they’ve proven is that they have a very sensible operational arrangement to make sure that they’ve got continuity in their teams.
“We’ve seen it with Big Bash teams, we’ve seen it with the English and Australian cricket teams, and we’ve seen it with AFL football squads, that you can’t afford to have many of your team taken out because of COVID.
“Formula 1, they’re a precision-based business, and as a precision-based business, they go about continuity and contingency planning and back-ups and scenarios as part of their business operations.
“That’s why it’s so accurate in everything they do, and that’s why it’s a cutting-edge sport,” Westacott concluded.