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Coronavirus: GPDA has "full trust" in authorities

NEWS STORY
12/03/2020

As the Melbourne weekend becomes ever weirder, F1 seemingly pulling the plug on the official press conference just as members of the media were about to ask the really interesting questions about things like, you know, the coronavirus, cheating, the FIA... the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, the so-called drivers' union, issued a brief statement giving its support to how the situation is being handled.

"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," it reads. "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."

Currently four members of the Haas team and one from McLaren are awaiting the results of their tests for the virus.

As the tests are fast-tracked, Haas team boss, Guenther Steiner admits that should they prove positive it would place his team, and indeed the sport, in a precarious position.

"If they are all negative, and if everyone else who has got symptoms is negative and haven't exposed other crew, then I can say that they can carry on," he said. "But if they are positive crew and they've exposed a number of others then all of those contacts need to be in quarantine, and so it'll be a question of whether they've got the operational staff to continue."

"Alternative plans are difficult because nobody can come here anymore, not time-wise and not permit-wise," he admitted. "We need to come up with something. In racing you always find solutions, but first I want to have a problem before I find a solution."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Melbourne, here.

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