The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association says it has “full trust” in the relevant bodies involved in Formula 1’s Australian Grand Prix, but has urged everyone involved in the event to be vigilant.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus has had an impact worldwide, with travel restricted, while some major sporting events have been postponed or cancelled.
Formula 1’s Australian Grand Prix is set to go ahead as planned, though there have already been alterations, including a clampdown on media sessions and restrictions on drivers greeting spectators along Melbourne Walk.
The Bahrain Grand Prix will be held behind closed doors, the Chinese Grand Prix has already been delayed, while it is understood Vietnam is on the brink of postponement.
On Thursday the GPDA – which all 20 drivers are part of – released a statement.
It read: “The GPDA has full trust in the Australian health authorities, the FIA, F1 and our teams to act with the best intentions to safeguard the health, welfare and safety of fans, officials, drivers and wider communities. The GPDA has been in contact with F1 and FIA throughout last week and we know they are working hard and thoroughly on this challenging task.
“We are all in this together and no one takes this situation lightly, but feel the responsibility falls on everyone, the locals as well as us global travellers, to be especially vigilant and cautious in these difficult times the coronavirus pandemic brings upon us all.
“To this end, the GPDA would respectfully suggest that we all, our Australian friends, fans, race community and drivers to maintain a safe distance and avoid one to one contact like selfies, autographs and shaking hands.
“These proposed steps to mitigate risk are in line with relevant guidance provided by public health authorities.”
Five team members – four from Haas and one from McLaren – are currently self-isolating in their respective hotel rooms as they await the results of a test for coronavirus.