Seidl stays in Australia with affected staff

MARCH 14, 2020

Seidl stays in Australia with affected staff

Start, Australian GP 2019
© RV Press

F1's travelling circus will endure a nervous couple of weeks in the wake of the postponed Australian GP.

Although a wheel didn't turn at Albert Park, the entire travelling sport made the trip from Europe only to learn that a McLaren team member was infected with coronavirus.

A two-week period of quarantine for those who work in Formula 1 has now begun.

When asked if he is worried that other infections will now be confirmed, Sebastian Vettel - who was the first driver to leave Melbourne at 6am on Friday morning - answered: "I don't know.

"How can you answer that? Maybe yes. I'm not an expert, but as far as I understand, some people will have it and you don't see anything. They show no symptoms," the Ferrari driver added.

On March 6 - just eight days ago - Lewis Hamilton was photographed at an event with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's wife Sophie, who has subsequently been diagnosed with Covid-19.

McLaren boss Andreas Seidl, meanwhile, has remained with the 15 affected members of his team in Melbourne.

"I sorted out the team all night and now I'm staying with them in Melbourne for solidarity," the German confirmed to Auto Bild.

It was Seidl's decision to withdraw McLaren from the Australian GP on Thursday that triggered the entire postponement saga.

"I had to act immediately," he explained. "My decision was fully supported by the team owners. For me, there was no other option.

"In such a case, the safety of my employees is my top priority."

Alex Wurz, the Grand Prix Drivers' Association president, was among those who travelled to Melbourne, but he stayed in his hotel on Friday.

"I didn't go to the paddock and my colleague Alex Wurz also stayed in the hotel," ORF commentator Ernst Hausleitner revealed to Osterreich.

"The risk was too great for us. We wanted to wait for the test results," he added.

"I have to admit, I underestimated the dramatic developments. The organisers didn't even stop the public pitwalk, which was completely irresponsible," Hausleitner said.

Former F1 driver Christian Danner agreed, telling RTL: "Formula 1 behaved pretty badly."

Even former FIA president Max Mosley has weighed into the situation, scolding his successors for being so indecisive.

"I think the general principle is that people can forgive you for being wrong but they can't forgive you for being indecisive," he told Motor Sport Magazine.

(GMM)

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