Lewis Hamilton is “very surprised” that Formula 1 decided to press on with the Australian GP, adding that he finds it “shocking”.
Despite motor racing series around the world calling off events, from MotoGP to Formula E, Formula 1 has only dropped the Chinese GP.
China being the centre of the coronavirus outbreak.
However, the Melbourne organisers were adamant the Australian Grand Prix would go ahead as too was F1’s owner, Liberty Media.
That decision has put five team staff members into self-isolation after they showed signs of fever upon landing in Melbourne.
All five are awaiting their results.
In the meantime the race weekend is going ahead.
Interactions with fans have been limited as too has the media scrum after each day’s action, however, drivers are still having to interact with media in sessions such as Thursday’s FIA press conference.
Hamilton doesn’t agree with the call.
“I am very, very surprised we are here,” he said.
“It is great we have races but for me it is shocking that we are all sitting in this room (media centre).
“There are so many fans here already today.
“It seems like the rest of the world is reacting, probably a bit late, but already this morning we have seen [Donald] Trump shutting down the borders from Europe to the United States.
“The NBA is being suspended and F1 continues to go on.”
Asked why F1 was racing in Melbourne, he replied: “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.”
He’s not the only one questioning F1’s decision.
“It’s nothing to do with us, that it’s like this,” Raikkonen told Motorsport.com.
“I don’t know if it’s the right thing that we are here. Probably not.
“But it’s not up to us, it’s not our decision.
“I think if it would be purely all the teams’ decision we probably wouldn’t be here.”
McLaren driver Carlos Sainz told Reuters the drivers are unsure about whether it is even safe to be out and about.
“We are obviously concerned with the situation but we are drivers and we don’t really understand what is exactly going on worldwide, if it’s safe to do it in Australia or Vietnam or whatever,” said the Spaniard.
“We are not miracle people, we are not governments …. and unfortunately we need to rely a bit on what others tell us.
“Everyone knows how quickly this thing is developing,” he said.
“Only time will tell if this is the right or the wrong thing to do.
“I am concerned, I think like everyone else in the paddock.
“But at the same time, at the moment, in my personal situation, I am in a comfortable situation.”