Punches and air high-fives, McLaren’s Lando Norris must avoid the handshakes as part of his anti-coronavirus strategy.
The global spread of the virus has been causing problems for Formula 1 – already the Chinese Grand Prix has been postponed, and various travel bans throughout the world are threatening to make travelling to races difficult.
Even the season-opening Australian Grand Prix which will begin on March 13 isn’t yet a certainty, and Norris has been briefed by McLaren and his trainer about what to expect in Melbourne when it comes to measures in place to control the virus.
Not holding handrails on escalators in airports or buses taking passengers to planes are part of the advice, while he is also being told to not shake hands with people.
The last part doesn’t seem to be much of a problem, especially when it comes to Norris’ team-mate Carlos Sainz, since he usually just punches him anyway.
“I think I never shake hands with Carlos anyway,” he told Reuters.
“I normally punch him or he punches me.”
As for the rest of the plan, Norris said that consists of: “Not touching stuff everyone else does. Just normal stuff. No handshaking, more like elbow or air high-fiving.”
Norris scored an impressive 49 points in his rookie season last year, helping McLaren to P4 in the Constructors’ Championship, but he was hampered by bad luck at several key stages.
2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg has said that Norris “could make a big jump if he gets all the points that he deserves”, and the Briton says it would be nice if everyone saw the bigger picture like that.
“I think there were a lot of times last year when I had a mechanical failure when I was about to score good points. We had France, Spa, Montreal. There were quite a few. It was a shame but I know this and the team know it,” he said.
“It would be nice if everyone knew because a lot of people just make assumptions on what they see and don’t actually having any idea what’s going on. That’s just how people act and how people are.”
Heading into the 2020 season-opener at Albert Park, Norris is much more relaxed this time around and expects McLaren to be part of a tight midfield pack.
“I’m feeling much better, I feel a lot more relaxed and a lot more confident. My head’s in a much better place,” he explained.
“Last year there was just so much anxiety, so many nerves. I just couldn’t enjoy it. Now I feel in a much better place so I look forward to going racing much more.
“It’s going to be close between all the midfield teams. Racing Point do look very good, straight out of the blocks. The whole midfield including Williams this year look very close.
“So I think we need to work hard and keep our heads down and try to improve. Maybe Racing Point will be slightly towards the head of it, but I hope we can regain control and go from there.”