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Grand Prix boss says F1 won’t have visa drama seen with Novak Djokovic at Australian Open

The Independent
The Independent
 2022-01-21

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An Australian Grand Prix boss says the Formula 1 won’t have a visa situation like Novak Djokovic ’s and says the country’s entry rules are “simple”.

Questions are being raised in every sport in Australia which requires athletes to travel to the country after the tennis player was deported after his visa was cancelled .

But the GP’s CEO Andrew Westacott has reassured fans a similar incident won’t impact the event , which will take place on 10 April.

“We’ve worked very closely with the Victorian government throughout 2021 and in the lead up to 2022,” he said. “And of course we’ve worked very, very closely with Formula 1.

“The rules are simple to get into the country and the rules are simple to operate in Formula 1. To come in for the event you’ll be 100 percent vaccinated and there won’t be exemptions sought for anyone, from anyone.

“Formula 1 has recognised around the world that they always need to comply with the rules at the borders for the jurisdictions in which they race. They’ve raced in 41 locations since Melbourne in 2020 and we’re going to be welcoming them into the country. The know the rules and we’re very, very comfortable with that.

“I think it goes without saying they will be a 100 percent vaccination and compliant with the laws. And that means when they come here to Melbourne they’re going to be operating in a very, very safe regime. That’s an underlined, defined position.

“Our arrangements have been in place well before the recent goings on with the Australian Open . We’ve worked very closely with the federal government, the state government, Formula 1 and the FIA for probably a year and a half on this.”

The 2022 Formula 1 season returns in March at the Bahrain Grand Prix and fans will be eager to see if Lewis Hamilton is in attendance. It’s been reported the star could either retire or take a year out from the sport after being denied a record eighth world title in 2021.

He and Max Verstappen headed into the final race of the season on equal points and the British star led the majority of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. However, Nicholas Latifi crashed which caused a safety car to be deployed. When the track was ruled safe, race director Michael Masi allowed some cars to unlap themselves and others not.

This allowed Verstappen to overtake Hamilton to claim his first world championship. The British driver, who was recently knighted, hasn’t confirmed whether or not he will be competing in the upcoming season.

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