In Brief

F1: Daniel Ricciardo says the Australian GP ‘can’t go ahead’ without a full grid

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko calls the FIA Ferrari settlement ‘political suicide’

Daniel Ricciardo says Formula 1’s season-opening grand prix in Australia should not take place if Italian teams are not allowed to race because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

All travellers from Italy will be subject to stringent health screenings on arrival to Australia and this has put Ferrari, Alpha Tauri and Pirelli’s participation in jeopardy for the race in Melbourne on 15 March. 

F1 motorsport managing director Ross Brawn this week warned that if any team is unable to compete in a grand prix because of coronavirus restrictions then the event will not go ahead.

Renault’s Australian driver Ricciardo agreed and he told the Sydney Morning Herald: “The race can’t go ahead without a full grid. I don’t think it would be right to race without all ten teams and all 20 drivers. 

“If, say, Ferrari and Alpha Tauri 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. 

“Winning a race like that... it’s not the way any of us would want to win. Say there was a reason why Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull weren’t coming and then I won in Melbourne… it would be a shallow victory and it wouldn’t mean anything.”

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Marko: FIA settlement is ‘political suicide’

GrandPX reports that the fallout from the FIA’s confidential settlement with Ferrari continues with Red Bull Racing advisor Dr Helmut Marko calling it “political suicide”. 

Last week the FIA confirmed that it had settled with Ferrari over their 2019-spec power unit, but in response seven F1 teams issued a joint statement expressing their “shock and surprise”. 

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reports that F1 has been “thrown into war” by the “planned attack” of the seven teams on Wednesday morning, while La Gazzetta dello Sport called it a “war over political influence and money”. 

Comparing the situation to the corruption scandals of football’s governing body Fifa, Red Bull official Marko said: “The whole thing has now taken on Fifa proportions. Only one letter is missing between the FIA and Fifa. 

“In any other association, this would be political suicide by [FIA president] Jean Todt. The FIA has discredited a sport in which we invest three-digit million sums of euros each year.”

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