Coronavirus: Max Verstappen thinks it is 'sensible' for Australian Grand Prix to go ahead
- Red Bull star Max Verstappen is glad the first race of the F1 season is going ahead in Australia despite the spread of coronavirus.
Max Verstappen believes holding the Australian Grand Prix this weekend is the "sensible thing to do" amid coronavirus fears.
Confirmed global cases of COVID-19 have topped 120,000, with 4,382 deaths caused by the disease.
Australia has 127 cases with three deaths, and Verstappen was asked about whether it was right to hold the event in an attempt to raise spirits of supporters amid the outbreak.
At a time when a host of other high-profile events have been postponed, cancelled or held without fans, Verstappen is glad to be racing.
"I think it is a sensible thing to do," said the Red Bull driver.
"Of course it is all tricky at the moment, but we are trying to make the best of it.
"We are just trying to get on with the start of the season and hopefully have an exciting weekend.
"Hopefully it is not too different. It's difficult to say at the moment [what impact the virus is going to have], but you try to do the whole week as normal as possible.
"But of course, like you are doing at the moment, you try to take a little bit of a precaution."
Verstappen is expected to be one of the leading challengers to defending champion Lewis Hamilton, who is bidding to win a record-equalling seventh world title in 2020.
The Dutchman knows a faster start to the season will be needed if Red Bull are to mix it with Mercedes, after all five of his top-two finishes in 2019 came from the ninth race of the season onwards.
Verstappen added: "It is not only me, the whole package needs to be quick. So let's see.
"We have been working really hard all winter to be able to start the year in a better fashion compared to last year. And now it is time to find out if it is true or not.
"Lewis has been winning a lot. Mercedes has been winning a lot. As a team we will try to make it difficult for them."Published 11 Mar 2020, 19:54 IST