Vettel
Sebastian Vettel, Winter Testing 2020 © Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel has said that “it’s fair to ask why” the Australian Grand Prix is going ahead in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Many events have been cancelled as a result of Coronavirus, including the suspension of all Formula E races for two months, and the suspension of the NBA basketball season, and on Friday morning America announced that they would not accept travellers from European countries as a precautionary measure.

Despite this, Formula 1 is still going ahead with its plan to hold the opening race of the season this weekend in Melbourne.

Lewis Hamilton said that he was”surprised” the race is still going ahead, and that continuing to hold the race weekend “is concerning” for him, and Vettel agreed that it is “fair” to ask why the race is still proceeding as planned.

Speaking in Thursday’s FIA press conference, Vettel said: “Of course, you realise that a lot of sport, competitions, big events get postponed and cancelled and, like Lewis said, it’s fair to ask the question: why are you here?

“Obviously we have to trust the FIA and FOM to take precautions as much as they can, but I think the answer that nobody can give you at the moment is how much you can control what is going on.

“As a matter of fact, we are here. You just try to take care as much as you can.”

Although there are concerns that if somebody within the F1 paddock were to test positive with the virus, it would spread around the personnel quite quickly, Vettel said that from a driver’s perspective, they are able to “largely control” their own situation, and that they need to trust the experts.

Talking about whether races should be postponed, Vettel commented:” I don’t think I’m the one to judge, and I think, to be completely straight, we are probably in a lucky situation, as in, obviously we are exposed to people, and so on, but I think we can largely control our own situation.

“Obviously in the car we don’t even have a passenger. What I mean is, you try to control the situation for yourself first, as much as you can.

“That’s selfish but I think everybody in this regard is selfish.

“You see some people being more relaxed about handshakes, others less. Now some laugh it off, some take it very serious.

“I think, as I said before, my stand on it is that it’s very difficult at the moment to really categorise and say that it is great, I don’t know, serious, or not serious – but that’s why you have to ultimately put yourself into other people’s hands and trust them.

“I think we all did getting down here. The flights weren’t cancelled, we were all allowed to travel, so we trusted whoever we flew with.

“We are sitting in this room. Within that, I think that you are within your own bubble and you try to control it as much as you can.

“I think it’s probably right to take care and take precaution.

“How much is necessary, and who’s responsible and whatever other questions, I think there are a lot of questions at the moment that are very difficult to answer.”

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