Formula One: Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton self-isolating as precaution after contact at event

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton at a press conference at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne on March 12, 2020 ahead of the Formula One Australian Grand Prix. Two races have been cancelled and five postponed.
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton at a press conference at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne on March 12, 2020 ahead of the Formula One Australian Grand Prix. Two races have been cancelled and five postponed. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton says he is self-isolating but will not get tested for the coronavirus, as others need attention more than him.

The 35-year-old Briton said he decided to self-isolate because he had been at the same function in London that actor Idris Elba and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau attended earlier this month.

Elba and Gregoire-Trudeau subsequently both tested positive for Covid-19.

"I want to let you know that I am doing well," Hamilton said in a statement on Saturday (March 21). "There has been speculation about my health, after I was at an event where two people later tested positive for coronavirus.

"I have zero symptoms and it has 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."

Hamilton has been in isolation since March 13, when the first practice session for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix was called off .

The start of the Formula One season has been wiped away by the pandemic with races in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam, China, Netherlands and Spain shelved and the iconic Riviera showpiece in Monaco cancelled.

A season which should have started in Melbourne on March 13 will now not start until Azerbaijan on June 7 at the earliest.

 
 
 

Formula One's British-based teams are also hoping to contribute away from the track.

They are working on a plan to manufacture medical equipment needed to fight the coronavirus which up to Friday (March 20) night had claimed 177 victims in the United Kingdom with the numbers infected set to top 4,000.

The British government and health authorities need more ventilators in intensive care units to deal with respiratory problems caused by the illness.

Formula One teams have engineering capabilities that could speed up the production of the units.