Formula 1

ALEX PERONI ESCAPES COVID-19 IN SPAIN TO HOME IN TASMANIA

A Velocity Motorsport Magazine Exclusive story.

Australia’s Alex Peroni barely made it back to the relative safety of Australia as the COVI-19 virus gripped Europe. Peroni’s home base in Spain was one of the worst hit by a virus that has swept all before it. As at 8.30am on 2 April 2020, the country has recorded 94,417 cases of coronavirus with 8,189 having succumbed to the effects of the illness.

Peroni had initially returned to the Campos Racing home base in Spain immediately after his excellent result in the official F3 test at Bahrain. At that stage Spain, as was the case across Europe had barely recorded any cases of the still largely unknown coronavirus strain.

As the situation deteriorated rapidly across the globe, Alex’s family sought to bring him home. He somehow managed to negate the constantly changing travel restrictions and scraped into Tasmania just before new lock down laws prevented his travel.

After the Bahrain test things in Spain were quickly getting worse and we soon made a call to head home, Peroni explained. I left with only a couple of hours remaining before the lockouts started. I’ve since spent two weeks in isolation back at home in Tasmania.

The effects of the global pandemic and constant stream of race postponements brought Alex to the realisation that the uncertainties and hardships faced by the world were of far greater importance and that the motorsport world had to stay on hold for an indefinable period of time. A fact that Alex quickly accepted.

Ive come to terms with it, he said. “Obviously I was pretty disappointed at first but its all for the greater good and something that needed to happen. Not sure what it will mean for my racing future but there’s nothing much we can do about it.

While motorsport across the world has ceased as the pandemic spreads to all corners of the Earth, one wondered how much more of an effect it would have on teams such as Campos Racing, Prema Racing and Trident, who are based in Spain and Italy respectively, two of the major epicentres for the virus. 

Campos had to shut down their workshop a couple weeks ago, but some personnel were needed to go back to Bahrain and pack up the gear from the test. They were forced to quarantine in Bahrain for two weeks. So yeah its been some hard times for the team.

BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, BAHRAIN – MARCH 01: Alexander Peroni (AUS, CAMPOS RACING) during the Test 1 – Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 01, 2020 in Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain. (Photo by Carl Bingham / LAT Images / FIA F3 Championship)

When asked if the situation might benefit those teams located in countries less affected by COVID-19 or those who had struggled in the Bahrain test, Alex Peroni doubted that it would change the order.

I doubt it. Its bad for everyone Id say, but at least everyone’s in the same boat. Ultimately time will tell though, Peroni replied.

After an enforced layoff during the latter part of 2019, Alex Peroni was determined to do everything possible, within the current raft of restrictions, to retain his physical well-being and race fitness.

Ive set up a mini gym at home which is good for many aspects of my physical fitness, but I have nothing available for e-sports at the moment. I dont have a simulator setup and its impossible to race effectively without one, Peroni said.  

The admission was another indication of the ever changing knowledge of the COVID-19 virus and the major life changes that had been brought about on an almost daily basis. Priorities had literally changed overnight in the desperate need to repatriate Alex and to this point a simulator had never been a priority for his home in Tasmania.

I’ve been living in Europe for five years so it was never necessary to organise a simulator at home, Peroni added.

Peroni’s demeanour and rational approach, has him in a positive mindset for the months that lay ahead. Throughout his racing career, Alex had learnt to deal with success and setback in a positive, commonsense approach to life. His accident and subsequent recovery from his accident at Monza in 2019 was just another life experience from which the young Tasmanian has learnt

For me the Monza crash was a lot harder to deal with, so it has made me stronger. I think with situations, like the one in which we find ourselves in now, I can cope better, Alex Peroni reasoned. Every year of my career has had so much uncertainty so it’s not that different really!

Velocity Magazine wishes Alex and his family all the best through this crisis, a successful return to racing in due course and a much needed Sim setup in the meantime.


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