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Formula 1 Update: Hamilton Coronavirus Scare, Virtual F1 Begins, Monaco Axed

Much like the rest of the sports world, Formula 1 is feeling the full effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 season has been postponed indefinitely as everyone continues to deal with the global health crisis.

Even reigning F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has had his own run-in with the deadly illness after coming into contact with a person who tested positive.

But while the real F1 season remains stuck in neutral and iconic races such as the Monaco GP have been outright cancelled, the ‘Virtual F1’ season is up and running as it had its first race on Sunday.

 

Lewis Hamilton self-isolating but showing no coronavirus symptoms

Reigning F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he has been self-isolating but is showing no symptoms of the coronavirus after attending an event in London that also featured Idris Elba and Sophie Trudeau.

Elba, a British actor, and Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have both tested positive for COVID-19.

“There’s been some speculation about my health after I was at an event where two people later tested positive for coronavirus,” Hamilton wrote on Instagram. “I wanted to let you know that I’m doing well, feeling healthy and working out twice a day. I have zero symptoms, and it’s now been 17 days since I saw Sophie and Idris. I have been in touch with Idris and happy to hear he is OK.

“I did speak to my doctor and double-checked if I needed to take a test but the truth is, there is a limited amount of tests available and there are people who need it more than I do, especially when I wasn’t showing any symptoms at all.”

Unlike in other sports, no F1 driver has tested positive for the virus yet. Hamilton has declined to be tested, though, since others need attention more than him. Meanwhile, McLaren team member who did test positive has already recovered, while 14 other McLaren staff who went into quarantine were also cleared.

Luckily, Hamilton keeps it that way and that he can maintain a clean bill of health. And once the season begins, he should be the massive favourite to defend his championship.

 

Virtual F1 is up and running

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak delaying the start of the F1 season, Formula 1 has come up with a fun way to provide some racing action in the form of “Virtual F1.” The first race took place on Sunday with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Despite the postponement, Bahrain Grand Prix continues through Formula 1's initiative called "Virtual F1"
Formula 1 drivers in action during the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix

Renault’s Chinese test driver Guanyu Zhou won the inaugural esport version of F1. While there were hopes that as many current drivers as possible would take part, McLaren’s Lando Norris was the only one who had ever competed in a real F1 race.

Despite failing to take part in qualifying or most of the race due to connection issues, Norris still made some Formula 1 2020 highlights as he finished fifth out of 18 participants.

Norris, 20, is entering his second F1 season with McLaren. He finished 11th in the drivers’ standings his debut campaign last year with 49 points. His best finish was sixth, which he achieved twice, the first of which was at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

F1 will run further virtual races on each weekend of the five other races that have been either cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus.

 

Monaco GP latest race to be cancelled, start of season still unknown

Unfortunately for SBOTOP Formula 1 fans, one of the races that has been outright cancelled is the Monaco Grand Prix, which will not be held for the first time in 66 years.

The Monaco GP, which was set for May 24, had initially been postponed by F1. But due to logistical and rescheduling difficulties, the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) decided to cancel the race altogether.

“The multi-border restrictions for accessing the Principality of Monaco, the pressure on all implicated businesses, their dedicated staff who are unable to undertake the necessary installations, the availability of the indispensable workforce and volunteers (more than 1500) required for the success of the event means that the situation is no longer tenable,” the ACM said in a statement.

The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most anticipated races in the F1 calendar, and its absence from this year’s season is a massive disappointment.

The race after Monaco, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on June 7, has not yet been postponed or cancelled and is being touted as the possible opening race of the F1 season.

However, a lot can still change in the next couple of months as the virus continues to wreak havoc on the entire globe, so we can only wait and see how it all plays out.

 

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