F1 prepares its first race with the fear of coronavirus
Drivers are still confident
Not every personality in Formula 1 is overly worried about the coronavirus.
"At the moment I have a plane to catch to Australia on Saturday and I have a tremendous desire to catch it," McLaren driver Carlos Sainz said on Thursday.
Actually, the global situation with the infectious virus and disease is not improving, even though at present the Melbourne season opener is on.
Authorities have a process in place for screening passengers, and a spokesman for the state Victorian government said there is currently "no impediment" to the Albert Park race going ahead.
Staff and equipment are already starting to arrive.
"There are a good fifty Formula 1 professionals in Albert Park who have been helping with the construction for days," race boss Andrew Westacott told 3AW radio.
"The cargo arrives from Friday to Sunday."
Bahrain and Vietnam, though, remain in more doubt. Bahrain has even stopped selling tickets for its race scheduled for March 22.
F1’s Italian contingent - teams like Ferrari and Alpha Tauri but also Pirelli - is the biggest issue. Vietnam is not allowing travellers from Italy into the country unless they serve a 14 day quarantine.
"I don’t think it would be right to race without all ten teams and 20 drivers," said Daniel Ricciardo, who said the idea to make affected races ’non championship’ rounds is "even worse".
"At this level, it has to be all of us or none of us," said the Australian.
Two drivers have admitted they are not concerned about the actual virus.
"I’m doing nothing weird. With me there is no going crazy," Sainz told Spanish media. "There will surely be measures in place for the first races and it’s good for the fans to have a little more caution.
"At the moment we have to wait. I only have contact with the doctor and the people who tell us to take care, wash your hands, get in less direct contact with other people - the usual stuff," he added.
Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen agrees: "If you tend to worry about stuff like that, I think it’s better to stay at home.
"There are some things you can’t control," the Finn told Ilta Sanomat newspaper.
As for the virus itself, Raikkonen added: "There are so many things that affect it, like what kind of medical care you have, what your health status is, how old you are."
And when asked how F1 should react to the situation, he said: "I cannot say. It’s not our decision, it’s their decision."