McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says he is confident Formula 1 will react accordingly to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and will avoid taking “risks”.

F1 has already postponed this year’s Chinese Grand Prix due to the outbreak which originated in the country, while it is continuing to monitor the situation regarding Vietnam, which is scheduled to host its first-ever race on April 5.

Speaking at the launch of McLaren’s 2020 F1 car, Brown insisted that both his team and F1 would do everything to ensure people working in the sport and the wider public are not put at risk.

"I actually spoke with Chase [Carey] two days ago about China before the official announcement came out,” Brown said.

“Obviously the wellbeing of McLaren and the greater world is of utmost importance.

“Vietnam’s has not been raised yet as a potential issue but obviously it is very nearby and neighbouring China so we are going to monitor the situation.

“We would never do anything that puts our people at risk, and I don’t believe Formula 1 would as well. So I think, like the rest of the world, we will just continue to monitor the situation.”

F1 hopes to reschedule the postponed Shanghai race for a slot later in the year but with an already-packed calendar formed of 21 races, such a scenario would not occur without difficulty.

The championship now faces an unprecedented four-week break between the Vietnam Grand Prix in Hanoi on April 5 and the returning Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort on May 3.

One proposed alteration would be to move the Abu Dhabi finale back in order to fit China into a late-November date, but that depends on whether the situation improves.

In China, over 60,000 people have been infected by the flu-like virus officially named COVID-19, which has killed more than 1,350 people since the outbreak started in Wuhan last year. It has been declared as a world health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

"This is a new situation for all of us, we are all in the same situation and it is unforeseen and unheard of,” Brown explained.

"I know some races have been cancelled in the past but not necessarily what we are facing here. I think we will just have to react when we know more and it will be the same for everyone.

“First and foremost it is a terrible situation for the world and I hope it gets resolved. Other things, such as sport, doesn’t matter when it comes to things like this. Hopefully it will get resolved and we will respond accordingly.

“If there is a month off, then there's a month off. Maybe Chase might look for new races to fill that gap but I think that it is a very fluid situation.”

McLaren driver Carlos Sainz said he is trying to not get “too worried” about the situation.

“I do think it’s good to keep yourself informed about what’s going on in the world, I read the news and I keep myself updated,” he added.

“But it is something I cannot control so I try not to get too worried and see what happens.”

Teammate Lando Norris added: "I think safety comes above all other things - money and sponsors etc.

"It's a shame we can’t go to China because it’s a fun race and the fans are pretty awesome but the decisions that have been made have been made for the right reasons and that’s how it is."

 

Comments

Loading Comments...