F1 drivers’ association makes coronavirus statement

The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association has issued a statement on coronavirus

Formula 1’s Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) has issued a statement outlining its position regarding the current coronavirus outbreak.

This weekend’s Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix has come under increasing fire regarding its handling of the global pandemic.

Little has been forthcoming from event organisers, the FIA, or Formula 1 despite multiple members of teams being placed in self-isolation on Wednesday and today.

Speedcafe.com today witnessed a photographer being sent from the circuit, the first known instance of Formula 1’s wider fraternity being impacted.

The drivers’ association has now issued its own statement, echoing practices announced by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation on Wednesday.

“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 statement read.

“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.”

The GPDA is a body that represents the interests of the drivers, though holds no actual power in the regulatory structure of the sport.

Lewis Hamilton voiced his concerns during Thursday’s press conference, admitting he was ‘surprised’ and ‘shocked’ that this weekend’s event is going ahead.

Haas boss Guenther Steiner said that he expected results for his staff back this afternoon, though no update has been forthcoming.

Despite the increasingly vocal concern, Formula 1 is due to hit track for the first time on Friday for two 90-minute practice sessions.

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