Australian GP volunteers set for three weeks of isolation

Details of the Australian GP COVID plans have emerged

Planning for next year’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix has taken a step forward with officials being contacted with details of the precautions they’ll have to undertake.

That includes effectively three weeks of isolation from March 14 for those working in the F1 paddock for the event which runs from March 18-21.

A letter sent to prospective Motorsport Australia officials stated that ‘Profile 1’ workers would need to quarantine from four days prior to the event, and 14 days afterwards.

It makes for a total of 22 days once the event itself is accounted for.

Of the 1000 officials expected to assist in the running of the event, only between 50 and 75 of those (Profile 1) are anticipated to need to undergo quarantine.

The vast majority of volunteers would be able to work at the event in a largely similar fashion to previous years.

“In order to comply with FIA and Government regulations, the 2021 event will be different to what we are used to,” the letter states.

“Officials will be grouped into one of two categories; Profile 1 and Profile 2. Profile 1 officials are those who will be working in the F1 paddock areas, Pit Lane and Race Control areas (i.e. those that [work] closely with F1 personnel).

“Under the current requirements, all Profile 1 officials will be placed into an ‘F1 bubble’.”

Currently it’s anticipated that volunteers will undergo a COVID test 96 hours before the event, at which point they would enter isolation.

Once a negative result is confirmed, officials would move into one of four bio-secure hotels, and have to remain within the ‘F1 bubble’ until the conclusion of the event.

Following the event, officials would have to undergo a further 14 days of quarantine – currently set to take place in a bio-secure hotel.

“We are working with the AGPC and the Victorian Government on the exact details of this and we hope that all Profile 1 Officials will be entitled to appropriate compensation for the time that they are required to quarantine,” the letter adds.

Officials considered Profile 2 are those who work under the following categories: support category scrutineers; flag, track or spectator marshals; support paddocks; communications; vehicle recovery; fire (non-pit lane); muster tent.

Those volunteers are not set to be held to the same restrictions as their Profile 1 colleagues.

The precautions come about amid suggestions Formula 1 personnel arriving in Australia would face a similar experience to those set to take part in the Australian Open tennis tournament.

Players, coaches, and managers likely to have to undergo two weeks of quarantine ahead of on-court action beginning, reportedly on February 8 after being delayed from its traditional January slot.

During that time, players will be permitted to train, but must test negative to COVID-19 on the first day of isolation on Melbourne.

They’ll then undergo subsequent tests before the tournament begins, at which point they’ll no longer need to adhere to quarantine conditions.

Organisers are also predicting reduced crowds at the event, with changes to spectator infrastructure such as smaller grandstands.

The provisional 2021 Formula 1 calendar is set to be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council next week, at which point it becomes the formalised calendar.

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