Daniel Ricciardo believes Formula 1 "was playing with fire" prior to its decision to cancel the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
With sporting events being called off across the world in the days leading up to the event in Melbourne, the coronavirus pandemic eventually caught up with F1 when a McLaren team member tested positive.
It sparked furious debate amongst the teams, the Formula One Group, the FIA, and race promoters, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, as to how to proceed.
The event was eventually cancelled less than two hours ahead of the opening practice session on Friday morning, with thousands of fans queueing to get into the Albert Park circuit.
"I definitely had some tunnel vision because Melbourne is such a busy and chaotic race," Renault driver Ricciardo told The Age.
"I hadn't given too much thought to the whole corona situation but deep down I had some concerns. We were definitely playing with fire.
"You start replaying every interaction you had, who you spoke to, where you were. It was easy to get paranoid.
"Even a few weeks earlier we were all in Barcelona at testing, there were no restrictions, typically everyone has a cold at that time of year in Europe … your mind definitely wanders.
"Once we got closer to the race and when you saw what was going on with other sports like the NBA, I was definitely thinking 'No, we absolutely shouldn't be doing this'."
Ricciardo has confirmed he even spoke to former Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen to ask his thoughts before deciding to head back home to Perth that Friday.
"That Friday morning everyone's phones were going crazy," he said.
"One of the people I spoke to was Max just to see what he was planning on doing. My thoughts, once it was cancelled, was to get out as soon as possible before things turned into a bit of a shitshow.
"I wanted to get a feel from some of the other drivers with what they were going to do before I got on a plane.
"The idea was to get home to Perth because there's family around and it made sense to get back to where I'd been before Melbourne because I still had things set up here. I wasn't going to risk going anywhere else."
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