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Ferrari Not Expecting Sebring Coronavirus Disruption

Ferrari set to contest Sebring WEC race as planned despite Italian coronavirus restrictions…

Photo: Ferrari

Ferrari foresees no major interruptions of its plans to contest next week’s 1000 Miles of Sebring FIA World Endurance Championship round in light of the new coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

Italy has been the worst-affected European country with 9,172 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus strain and 463 associated deaths, according to the latest data from the country’s Civil Protection agency.

However, a Ferrari spokesperson told Sportscar365 that there are no concerns about the manufacturer or the AF Corse team being depleted by the onset of the virus, which has resulted in the Italian government implementing nationwide containment measures.

Controlling measures put into place on Sunday, initially for the entire Lombardy region and 14 smaller provinces, have been extended to the entire country as of Tuesday morning.

Two of the provinces covered by this ‘enhanced containment’ policy were Modena, which covers Ferrari’s Maranello HQ, and Piacenza where AF Corse is based.

Furthermore, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday released a 14-day mandatory self-isolation for international arrivals into the U.S. from Level 3 transmission countries, including Italy.

Sportscar365 has submitted an inquiry to the WEC to see if this will have any effect on the Sebring week.

Ferrari’s Competizione GT division and AF Corse are responsible for a total of seven WEC cars, split between the two factory GTE-Pro Ferrari 488 GTE Evos and four customer GTE-Am entries, plus the AF-run Cetilar Racing LMP2 effort.

A total of ten drivers scheduled to take part in the WEC race are also Italian, although several do not currently live in the country.

Italian citizens have been advised to avoid movements in and out of their home provinces “except for work or health reasons,” according to the Italian health ministry.

Additionally, those with a fever above 37.5 degrees Celsius are “strongly recommended” to stay at home and limit social contacts, while those who have tested positive for the virus are forbidden from leaving their homes voluntarily.

Public gatherings, educational departments and facilities such as theaters and bars have also been suspended or temporarily closed to limit group interactions.

While the Italy-based members of Ferrari’s WEC crew will need to sign a certification form to leave the country, other staff are either freelancers from separate countries or are already stationed in the U.S.

Personnel who are leaving from Italian airports will be subject to checks prior to departure.

The Ferrari spokesperson identified the most likely risk for its personnel traveling to Sebring as airlines canceling flights to the U.S. rather than any containment measures.

Rome’s Fiumicino international airport has remained operational during the outbreak with Tuesday morning’s flights to North America running largely as planned.

Flights are also continuing to depart from Ferrari’s closest airport at Bologna to connecting destinations in Europe.

However, no Alitalia flights are leaving Milan Malpensa – Italy’s other major international hub – until after the Sebring event.

Ferrari issued a company-wide statement on Monday morning acknowledging Maranello’s status within an enhanced containment province but that the factory would continue to operate despite the outbreak.

“Ferrari has activated all of the measures necessary to allow their employees to conduct their working activity in the best possible conditions and therefore, at this moment in time, confirms its operational continuity,” read the statement.

“This continuity is obviously subject to that of our suppliers, with whom we are in constant contact.

“Ferrari remains in ongoing discussions with authorities and is ready to adapt its security measures with regard to the evolving situation in the knowledge that the safeguard of the health and wellbeing of its employees is of absolute priority.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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