Mattia Binotto, Team Principal of Ferrari has stated that the coronavirus has lead to a halt in the development program initiated by Ferrari but stated that the team is committed to helping those stuck in crisis. Ferrari, on Monday, halted production in their factory.
In an interview with Formula One, Binotto said, "The health of our employees is important. It's our top priority. We managed to go to Melbourne, even though it wasn't easy for us to be there as we had to change our plan on the flights as well. But more than that is what is happening in Italy, which we are concerned [about]. We express our solidarity to all our people here."
Globally, around 8,000 people have died due to Coronavirus, with the epicentre being China. The virus has infected around 2,19,000 people globally and has now spread to North America, South America, Europe, New Zealand, and more than 100 other countries.
Binotto also touched upon the driver relationship and claimed that the team will let both drivers race naturally this season. "They are two smart and clever guys, they are getting to know each other better. What happened last year, not only in Brazil, but also in Russia when we tried to manage team orders. These situations gave us the opportunity to discuss and when you discuss in a transparent way, you get to know each other better. I think we have built more trust and confidence between us as a team, between the drivers, and that will be helpful in 2020.”
Lewis Hamilton, who currently races for Marcedes is rumoured to join Ferrari, but Sebastian Vettel is the first choice driver with Charles Leclerc set to sign new long term deal. "We have started discussing a new deal. It’s important we address it quite soon. It’s not something we will leave until the end of the season. It’s important for him and for ourselves to get clarity as soon as we can. Discussions are ongoing, and hopefully, that will be done soon."
Formula One's inaugural race, Australian Open was cancelled because of the virus. Earlier, the authorities had announced that`the Chinese Grand Prix will be cancelled because of the virus and the Bahrain Grand Prix will be held behind closed doors.