F1 drivers will "pull handbrake" if virus situation worsens

Sebastian Vettel says Formula 1 drivers would have no qualms in "pulling the handbrake" on the Australian Grand Prix if the coronavirus situation escalates.

F1 drivers will "pull handbrake" if virus situation worsens

While F1 waits on the results of tests on at least five team personnel who have shown symptoms of the virus, there is an uneasy feeling in the paddock about the risks the sport is facing is going ahead with the season opener.

Australian health chiefs have made clear that any team which has an infected staff member will likely be put in quarantine, and that could be enough for the race to be called off.

However, Vettel also says that if things got worse in Melbourne – and staff were taken ill or worse – then the drivers would be strong enough to stand up and push for the race to be abandoned.

"I hope others would agree, and we hope it doesn't get that far, but if it were to get that far then for sure you pull the handbrake," said the German.

"I think we are a group of 20 guys and I think we've got together over the last years for various circumstances on various topics, and I think we share common opinion on big decisions and that.

"I would qualify it is a very, very big decision and ultimately, as I said before, you look at yourself. And we would, I think, be mature enough to look after ourselves and pull the handbrake in that case."

Read Also:

F1 drivers have been in contact with the sport's bosses regarding how best to deal with the coronavirus situation in Australia.

It is understood that drivers' body, the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA), wanted assurances that F1 would minimise the chances of the virus being transmitted between fans and the drivers – which is why autograph sessions and close contact events have been canned.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the GPDA urged everyone in the paddock to work together to try to get through the difficult circumstances.

"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," it said.

"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 [we] 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 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."

shares
comments
Top cars "still quite a bit ahead" of Racing Point - Perez

Previous article

Top cars "still quite a bit ahead" of Racing Point - Perez

Next article

Bottas: Mercedes will need to "calculate" risk of DAS protest

Bottas: Mercedes will need to "calculate" risk of DAS protest
Load comments
How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't Prime

How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says Oleg Karpov, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Prime

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says Mark Gallagher, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors.

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat Prime

The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap-one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt Prime

The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming.

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash Prime

How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash

A poor start for Valtteri Bottas and the lap one clash between Formula 1's 2021 title protagonists gave Charles Leclerc a surprise lead in the British Grand Prix that he almost held to the end. Here's how the Ferrari driver came close to a famous victory, ultimately denied by a recovering Lewis Hamilton three laps from home

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021