Robert Wickens sends message to fans about St. Pete interaction

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Robert Wickens has advised fans he won’t be able to shake hands or have close contact this weekend while attending the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Though he still will be signing autographs, Wickens said he would be following protocols recently provided for mingling trackside during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

In a tweet, Wickens asked fans “that you respect that decision, especially considering my own health complications and susceptibility to the COVID-19 virus. … Since this is still such an unknown for us all, I need to take extra precautions at the event for my personal wellbeing. I look forward to seeing you at in St. Petersburg this weekend !”

Wickens continues to recover from the spinal cord injuries he sustained in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway, recently tweeting video of his rehabilitation on a treadmill.

He remains with Arrow McLaren SP and will be serving as a driver coach for drivers Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew.

Wickens, who will turn 31 on March 13, returned to the IndyCar paddock for the first time at last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg. He also made a return to the driver’s seat last season, piloting a specialized Acura NSX before the start of last year’s IndyCar race in his hometown of Toronto.

Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt has said the team’s No. 6 entry will be available for Wickens when he returns.