- Lewis Hamilton said “it’s shocking” that a Formula 1 race this weekend is going ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- The virus, which has killed 631 people, has caused the postponement of numerous sports events across the world, including the NBA and Spain’s La Liga.
- Formula 1 has delayed the Chinese Grand Prix, which was set to take place in April, but this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix still has the green light.
- “I am really very, very surprised that we’re here,” Hamilton told the press. “It really is shocking that we’re all sitting in this room.”
- Soon after Hamilton’s comments, McLaren Racing announced its withdrawal from the race as one of its team members had tested positive for COVID-19.
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Lewis Hamilton said “it’s shocking” that the Formula 1 season is going ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The virus, which has killed 631 people across the world, has bought to a halt a number of major sporting events, including the NBA, Spain’s La Liga, and Italy’s Serie A.
Formula 1 said in a statement on earlier this week that it was delaying the Chinese Grand Prix, which was set to take place between April 17-19 but other races, including this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, are set to go ahead as planned.
“I am really very, very surprised that we’re here. I don’t think it’s great that we have races but it really is shocking that we’re all sitting in this room,” Hamilton told reporters at a pre-race press conference in Melbourne on Thursday, according to CNN.
“It seems that the rest of the world is already reacting a little bit late, but you have seen this morning with [President Donald] Trump shutting down the border to Europe to the States, the NBA suspended, yet Formula 1 continues to go on.”
When asked why he believes the race has not been cancelled, he said: “Cash is king.”
Soon after Hamilton’s comments, McLaren Racing announced its withdrawal from the race at Melbourne’s Albert Park due to the fact one of its team members had tested positive for COVID-19.
“McLaren Racing has confirmed this evening in Melbourne that it has withdrawn from the 2020 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, following the positive test of a team member for the coronavirus,” a team statement said.
“The team member was tested and self-isolated as soon as they started to show symptoms and will now be treated by local healthcare authorities.”
Formula 1 now says it is “coordinating with all the relevant authorities on the next steps.”
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