Formula 1 is doing the best job possible amid an “incredibly difficult situation” with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, according to William deputy team principal Claire Williams.

The championship is pressing ahead with the season-opening Australian Grand Prix despite the coronavirus pandemic which has already resulted in a number of worldwide sporting events being either postponed or cancelled altogether.

Australian Grand Prix organisers are working closely with F1 in a bid to safeguard the F1 paddock and community by implementing a host of precautionary measures in Melbourne, and Williams backed how the situation has been handled so far.

“I think it’s an incredibly difficult situation,” Williams said.

"I think for any business in whatever industry that you’re operating in it’s incredibly hard to handle it.

“I think that they’ve done the best job that they possibly can to act responsibly and to do what’s required, but it’s obviously such a fluid situation that it’s not an easy thing to have to manage.”

Five members of F1 personnel - including four Haas and one McLaren team members - are currently self-isolating as they await test results for coronavirus, which are expected to come on Thursday.

Not everyone has been supportive of F1’s decision to go racing in Australia, with reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton saying he is “very surprised” the Melbourne round is still taking place.

Williams admits she fears the prospect of a number of F1 race cancellations and subsequent prolonged break would impact on the financial situation of her team.

“We’re obviously - like F1, like everybody and every responsible business - monitoring the situation incredibly closely,” Williams explained.

"Obviously we’ve got a steering committee at Williams that has been in place for a couple of months now to make sure that we are acting responsibly and safeguarding everybody that works at Williams doing what we need to do based on the World Health Organisation’s guidance, and that’s all we can do at this stage.

“We have not got a case at Williams, we haven’t, but we’ve got to make sure that we safeguard our business, and that comes in a variety of different ways,” she added.

“Through ensuring that we’ve got the capability for remote working should we need to send our people home. I suppose the main consideration for any team is around manufacturing, because you can’t manufacturer parts at home, so if we have to shut down our factory, that could be incredibly difficult.

“You’ve still got wages to pay. You are spending less, but most teams, their wage bill is the largest proportion of their monthly expenditure.”

 

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