In an interview with 'The Age', the Australian admitted the sport was ‘’playing with fire’’ by trying to go ahead with the Grand Prix before it was eventually cancelled on Friday morning, just a few hours before FP1.
‘’I definitely had some tunnel vision because Melbourne is such a busy and chaotic race.
‘’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 [pre-season] 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 spoke with former teammate Max Verstappen as the drivers were in limbo before the decision was made to cancel the event.
"That Friday morning ... everyone's phones were going crazy.
"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."
Fans were left disappointed as the late cancellation meant a number of them had been waiting to enter the track ahead of Friday’s action. Did Formula 1 and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation leave it too long to cancel it?
"From the outside it's easy to say [that it could have been managed better], but even being on the inside … I'd be naive if I said I knew everything that was going on because so few of us did.
"We were all gutted that it didn't go ahead and it was such a shame for everyone who works there, who goes as a spectator, for the people who wanted to watch it on TV, but it was 100 per cent the right call.
"The Sunday, as in race day in Melbourne, was strange because I was home. It was around race start time on the Sunday and I had a moment where I thought 'man, I should be in an F1 car right now' ... it sucked."