F1 drivers were willing to run away from the Australian Grand Prix because of the threat of the corona virus
Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel said the drivers are willing to withdraw from this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne – effectively canceling the event – due to fear of the corona virus.
Vettel’s comments came on Thursday when other world champions Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen also said that the season opening event should not go ahead, and that five crew members had already been quarantined and were showing signs of the virus.
While race organizers and the Victorian state government insisted that the race weekend go according to plan, a driver withdrawal would prevent it from continuing.
Sebastian Vettel (left) said the drivers are ready to withdraw from this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne
Renault’s Esteban Ocon arrives with a face mask ahead of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2020
“We hope it doesn’t come that far, but when it comes to that, be sure to pull the handbrake,” said Ferrari driver Vettel. .
“We are a group of 20 boys and we have had different circumstances on different topics in recent years, and we share the opinion on big decisions.
“I would qualify that it is a very, very big decision and in the end you look at yourself.
“We would be mature enough to take care of ourselves and pull the handbrake in that case.”
Lewis Hamilton said it was “shocking” that the Australian GP continues amid coronavirus threat
Renault’s Daniel Riccardo arrives at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne and stays away from fans
“We hope it doesn’t get that far, but when it comes to that, definitely pull the handbrake,” said Ferrari driver Vettel
Hamilton said it was “ shocking ” that the event was allowed to continue as other sports around the world discontinued activities or played behind closed doors, while health experts warned of large gatherings of people.
“I’m really very surprised to be here,” Hamilton told reporters at Albert Park’s media center a day before the cars came out for the first free practice sessions on the track.
“It is great that we have races, but it is shocking to me that we are all in this room.
“We have seen US President Donald seal the borders of Europe … we see the NBA suspended, but Formula 1 continues.”
While race organizers and the Victorian state government insisted that the race weekend go according to plan, a driver withdrawal would prevent it from continuing. Fans are waiting for drivers on Thursday
Renault’s Esteban Ocon arrives with a face mask giving a thumbs up to fans
When asked why he thought the race was going on, the reigning Mercedes team world champion said, “Cash is king.”
“I urge everyone to really be as careful as possible when touching doors and surfaces. I hope everyone has hand sanitizer, and really for the fans I really, really hope they take precautions. ‘
Alfa Romeo veteran driver Raikkonen said that if it were up to the teams and drivers, the race would have been postponed or canceled.
“I don’t know if we’re right here. Probably not, “said Raikkonen.
“But it is not up to us, it is not our decision. If it were purely the decision of all teams, we probably wouldn’t be here. ‘
Red Bull Holden drivers Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup claim the first two Supercars pole positions
Jamie Whincup has battled through a sore ankle to help Red Bull Holden claim the first two Supercars pole positions at the Melbourne 400 at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.
The 37-year-old was the fastest in the second qualifying session on Thursday after teammate Shane van Gisbergen captured the first pole position on the Albert Park circuit.
“I was late for the driver briefing and got out of the truck and actually rolled it pretty badly,” said Whincup.
“I was happy to get through today and we’ll give it some treatment tomorrow.
Jamie Whincup battled through a sore ankle to help Red Bull Holden claim the first two pole positions for Supercars
“It hurts, but didn’t affect lap time, which is good, so I’m very lucky.”
Cameron Waters of Tickford Racing also starts in the front row in his Ford Mustang.
Red Bull closed the front row for Race 3 when van Gisbergen finished in the first qualifying session for Whincup.
Ford flyers Will Davison and reigning champion Scott McLaughlin will start in the second row as third and fourth respectively.
Macauley Jones was unable to participate in any of the qualifying sessions of the day.
His Team CoolDrive Commodore suffered a high speed brake approaching Turn 1 and crashed into the tire barrier in a collision ending the second practice session.
The circuit will host four 20-lap races during the Formula 1 meeting.
Championship leader McLaughlin has a 27-point lead over Whincup after the season opening Adelaide 500.
Meanwhile, the prime minister has tried to assure Australians that the government is taking action on coronavirus, but says everyone has a role to play.
Scott Morrison addressed the nation on Thursday evening, the first prime minister to do so since Julia Gillard drafted her government’s climate plan in 2011.
From Sydney, he described his government’s $ 22.9 billion economic stimulus package and divided his government’s strategy into three goals.
One, protect the health of Australians; two, securing jobs and livelihoods for Australians; and three, to make Australia stronger when the crisis is over, “he said.
The words “bounce back” were a prominent theme in Mr. Morrison’s speech, which negated the government’s economic performance.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 158
New South Wales: 78
South Australia: 12
Western Australia: 9
Northern Territory: 1
Australian Capital Territory: 1
TOTAL CASES: 158
“Once the virus has run its course, we will allow Australia to bounce back strongly,” said Morrison.
The incentive package includes checks on benefit recipients and retirees, wage subsidies for employers to keep apprentices employed and money increases for small businesses.
“We can now take this action because we have worked hard to rebalance the budget,” said Mr. Morrison.
But he also tried to rally Australians, saying challenging months were ahead as the world treated the effects of the virus.
“Now I know that many Australians are concerned about this and that we have a long way to go,” said Morrison.
“We’ll get through this together, Australia. We all have a role to play. ‘
“I know we all do our bit.”
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Travel from Europe to Australia may be prohibited due to fears that the corona virus will spread
Travel from Europe to Australia may soon be prohibited from halting the spread of the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has asked health officials to consider whether flights should be stopped.
There was no timetable for making a decision.
Meanwhile, the federal government has extended bans on China, Italy, South Korea, and Iran.
The ban means that every foreigner must spend 14 days outside those countries before entering Australia.
So far, there are 141 cases of the virus in the country, which have caused three deaths.
A traveler wears a mask at Sydney International Airport on Thursday
It comes after U.S. President Donald Trump told America that he ordered the immediate cessation of all travel from Europe to the United States while addressing the nation to the coronavirus.
“We will suspend all travel from Europe to the United States in the next 30 days,” Trump announced in an Oval Office speech to the nation.
Just hours after world health officials declared the coronavirus a pandemic, Trump repeatedly defended his own actions and vowed that the nation would gain the upper hand in fighting the virus and getting treatment in the market.
“The new rules take effect at midnight on Friday,” he said. The move was so sudden that the acting Secretary of Homeland Security said he would give full instructions on its implementation within 48 hours.
He urged older Americans to be careful, urged to shut down visitors to nursing homes, and told Americans to wash their hands diligently.
“The virus doesn’t stand a chance against us – no country is better prepared or more resilient than the United States,” he said.
Shadow Cabinet Minister Bill Shorten demanded that Australia introduce social distancing “not in weeks and months, but in days.”
“The only way to ensure that this pandemic is no worse than it otherwise would be is to take more drastic measures of social distance,” he told Sky News.
Singapore and Japan and parts of China are giving more draconian reactions. As a result, it seems that some of their pandemic figures will not be as bad as other countries that do too little too late. ‘
Earlier on Thursday, Scott Morrison announced that a quarter of Australians will receive $ 750 as part of a $ 23 billion bid to avoid a recession as the corona virus disrupts the economy.
The money will be distributed to 6.5 million people, including 3.6 million retirees, 1.1 million students and working age benefit recipients, and 1.5 million others, including veterans and parents who receive family benefits.
Payments totaling $ 4.8 billion will commence on March 31 and will be automatically transferred through the tax system.
Scott Morrison (pictured today) unveiled his $ 23 billion stimulus package to avoid a recession as the corona virus turns the economy upside down
“Australians will spend that money and that money will boost economic activity,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
The measure is part of a massive stimulus plan – the first of its kind since the 2008 financial crash – to save thousands of jobs and businesses as the corona virus pushes Australia into recession.
Despite this morning’s announcement, the Australian stock market continued to plummet, as the World Health Organization said the outbreak was a global pandemic and the US was banning flights from Europe with the exception of the UK.
Who will receive $ 750?
Newstart recipients, disability pension, carer benefit, youth benefit, veteran support, family tax and holders of a Commonwealth senior health card.
The 2.4 million retired retirees in Australia are also getting the payment.
Payments start on March 31 and are automatically deposited into the bank account.
The government has promised that 90 percent of the funds will be delivered by mid-April.
Other measures in the package are aimed at helping small businesses and tourism businesses that have been pushed to the brink by the virus.
The government will issue tax-exempt cash grants of up to $ 25,000 to 7,000 small businesses that convert less than $ 50 million and employ people.
There will also be a 50 percent pay subsidy for 117,000 students worth $ 21,000 per student. The money is paid to companies so that they can afford to keep their young workers working.
Immediate asset write-offs will be extended to allow traditions to purchase trucks and other equipment worth $ 150,000 from the tax authorities through June 30. The previous limit was $ 30,000.
Mr. Morrison has also vowed to ensure that casual workers who are unable to find work because of the virus do not have to wait to access Newstart’s sickness benefit.
There is also a $ 1 billion fund to help tourism companies hit by the recession, similar to a disaster recovery fund. The ATO also allows affected companies to defer their tax liabilities for four months.
The prime minister said the package is worth $ 17.629 billion in the next four to six months, giving the economy a boost of $ 22.9 billion or 1.2 percent of GDP.
“This plan is about keeping jobs with Australians. This plan is about keeping a business up and running, especially small and medium sized businesses, and this plan is about making the Australian economy on the other side bounce back stronger and thereby bounce the Bouncy back, ”said Morrison.
Travelers at Sydney Airport wear masks and gloves to avoid catching Coronavirus