Lewis Hamilton says he is “surprised” and finds it “shocking” to be at the Australian Grand Prix amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
Yesterday the WHO announced a worldwide pandemic of the novel coronavirus , some countries are in lockdown, major sporting events are being cancelled, yet Formula 1 goes on.
At the Australian Grand Prix press session Lewis Hamilton was asked if he was comfortable being at the track considering the state of emergency the whole world is in.
“I am very, very surprised that we are here,” admitted Hamilton.
“I think it’s great that we have races, but for me it’s shocking that we’re all sitting in this room.
“So many fans here already today and it seems like the rest of the world is reacting, probably a little bit late, but already this morning we’ve seen [Donald] Trump shutting down the borders from Europe to the United States. We are seeing the NBA being suspended and F1 continues to go on.
The virus seems to be most dangerous for older people a fact that Hamilton says concerns him the most.
“I saw Jackie Stewart this morning, looking fit and healthy and well, and some people as I walked into the paddock, some elderly individuals. So it’s a concern for the people here.
“It’s definitely concerning for me. So no is your answer.”
Unfortunately the situation in Melbourne also seems to be dire as a hotel near the Albert Park track has been shut down due to a confirmed case of the coronavirus. The Formula 1 paddock was also not spared, with five F1 personnel being tested at the moment. Hamilton was asked why he thought the race was going ahead despite massive safety concerns.
“Cash is king, but honestly I don’t know. I can’t really add much.
“I don’t feel like I should shy away from the fact of my opinion. The fact is we are here and I just urge everyone to really just be as careful as you can be in touching doors and surfaces. I hope everyone’s got hand sanitizer, and really for the fans I really, really hope that they take precautions.
“I was walking through and seeing just everything going ahead as normal, like it’s a normal day. So, I just hope all the fans stay safe, and I really hope we go through this weekend without seeing any fatalities.”
Australian medical chiefs have already said the teams will be quarantined if any of their staff turns out to be positive. Hamilton was asked if he thinks the grand prix should be cancelled if that happens.
“It is not for me to make the decision.
“But I heard that the results are not going to come back for five days or something: coincidentally,” concluded the Briton.