Ministry of Sport

Motorsport Australia Unveils Return Strategy

Motorsport Australia has announced its strategy to facilitate a return to competition as the Australian government has started to ease COVID-19 (Coronavirus) restrictions.

The document, titled ‘Return to Race’, details the plan to return all disciplines of motorsport, based on six key principles.

Those principles are government guidelines, good hygiene, social distancing, restriction, monitoring and education, training, and resources.

These covers a range of measures that will be enforced, including not sharing equipment and tools, minimising group catering, avoiding indoor areas, conducting meetings such as drivers’ briefings and media conferences online, limiting personnel, and not allowing people with symptoms, or anyone who has returned from overseas in the past fortnight, at events.

Motorsport Australia CEO, Eugene Arocca, said the strategy has been sent to federal and state and territory governments, with it also determining no spectators will be permitted at motorsport events.

“Motorsport is unlike any other sport,” Arocca said.

“We certainly believe it’s a low-risk sport when it comes to any potential transmission of COVID-19 given that motorsport is conducted outdoors, usually on a large site area.

“However, that doesn’t mean we can just go back to running events as we previously did.

“Return to Race clearly outlines all steps our event organisers, officials and competitors should take to make our events as safe as possible based on the framework put forward by the federal government.

“This strategy outlines the importance of avoiding gatherings or meetings, instead using technology such as Zoom to host drivers’ briefings for example.

“We’re also providing other key steps that event organisers, officials and competitors need to take to ensure everyone’s health and safety, depending on their role,” he said.

While this plan is a solid step to bringing back Australian motorsport, there are still no proposed return to action dates locked in, despite the Northern Territory allowing motor racing to resume from this Friday.

With strict border restrictions still in place in Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia, the Supercars national championship will need to wait for the easing of such restrictions before competition can be resumed.

“While drivers may be ‘cocooned’ in their vehicles when on track or on a stage, there are obviously many other things that need to be considered before an event can go ahead,” Arocca said.

“This includes understanding how to manage a busy pit lane, scrutineering and of course our managing officials scattered across an event site who often need to work in small groups.

“The Return to Race document addresses those concerns to ensure event organisers are aware of their responsibilities,” he said.

The document also indicates Motorsport Australia will have a dedicated COVID-19 Checker required at every event to make sure the guidelines are being strictly adhered to.

Joshua Hodson

Joshua Hodson