Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Formula 1 has a duty to contribute in helping to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

F1 is facing an enforced delay to the start of the 2020 season as a result of the ongoing global coronavirus crisis which has led to the opening nine races being postponed or cancelled.

Championship bosses are currently working to get the campaign underway as soon as possible and are considering holding closed door races without spectators due to the continued social distancing restrictions imposed by most European countries.

Amid the hiatus, Mercedes and the six other UK-based teams have been developing life-saving medical devices and have contributed to the supply of more than 20,000 orders from the NHS to treat coronavirus patients.

“Formula 1 is an entertainment platform and a sport and we are all missing it,” Wolff said in the latest episode of Mercedes’ Deep Dive series.

“But I think we have to contribute to what everybody is doing to help to reduce the cases and get ourselves out of this terrible phase.

“The most important thing is the health and wellbeing of all of us, our families and our friends and our colleagues in the team and in Daimler.

“I think you have seen various data and rumours spreading around, you hear about singular cases that are real outliers that shouldn’t be affected as badly as they are.

“Add to the equation the various strategies of the governments: Austria, my home country, adopted a very early lockdown policy and three weeks later the virus is on its way down and the government is thinking about slowly re-opening to normal life.

“Then you see Sweden has adopted a totally different strategy and have remained basically as before, adding the component of social distancing, and others have been in total lockdown.

“We are really fighting an unknown enemy here.”

The lack of racing due to the COVID-19 outbreak has put F1 and its 10 teams in a vulnerable position, with discussions over ways to ease the financial strain on teams after a drop in revenue through race-hosting fees, broadcasting rights and sponsorship continuing.

But Wolff remains confident that F1 and society as a whole will come out of the coronavirus crisis “stronger”.

“I think it makes us appreciate more the smaller things in life, going for a walk if we are allowed to, spending time with family and kids and not rushing back from your office,” he explained.

“It’s difficult times for all of us, some of us maybe a little bit easier with the amount of space that we have available for activity, but we will come out better, we will come out stronger.

“Rough seas make good sailors. Whilst you are in it doesn’t feel good but when we are coming out of this we will be a different society with different values with a different mindset.”

 

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