Australian GP organisers fire COVID warning at Lewis Hamilton

Australia continues to operate with a strict COVID-19 vaccination policy, with zero exceptions for elite sport.

The phrase ‘elite sport’ was banded around a lot in the UK around the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, as those sports that were deemed to be ‘elite’ were given special permission to restart their leagues and championships.

Formula 1 restarted in Austria after being halted by the pandemic, while football was allowed to restart in the top four tiers of England and no lower.

Australia operate with a much more strict COVID policy however, as every single person who enters the country must be fully vaccinated, regardless of whether there are entering the country for sport.

The country’s unwavering approach to their rules was proven with their treatment of the Australian Tennis Open, when the legendary Novak Djokovic had his visa revoked after it was revealed that he had refused to take the vaccine.

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With F1 once again set to return to Australia in 2023, Australian Grand Prix chief Andrew Westacott has fired a warning to the drivers, reminding them there are zero exceptions to their strict vaccination policy.

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

“Our arrangements have been in place well before the recent goings-on at the Australian Open.

“These rules are understood by Formula One, they’re understood by the FIA, they’re going to be written into the sporting regulations and I’m very confident that [it] is just going to be a rite of passage to come into the country.

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“There’s zero tolerance. Whether you’re Lewis Hamilton or Valentino Rossi in MotoGP, if you test positive, you don’t race that weekend.”

The 2022 season was not without its COVID drama, as Sebastian Vettel was forced to miss the Bahrain and Saudi Arabian Grand Prix’ after testing positive for the virus.

With Formula 1 also forcing every member of paddock staff to be vaccinated, every Formula 1 driver does currently have the vaccine, meaning that there should be zero problems when F1 travels to Australia, unless a driver is unlucky enough to contract the virus.