(GMM) Flavio Briatore has revealed that he had a coronavirus-like illness – in December.
It was only on December 31 that China admitted it was grappling with a mysterious flu-like problem causing pneumonia in Wuhan.
But former F1 boss Briatore thinks he had coronavirus before that in Italy.
"I was sick in December," the Italian told Italian broadcaster LA7.
"I had a very high fever, pain in my lungs and shortness of breath. It lasted for a dozen days. My doctor couldn't understand what was happening.
"They took X-rays and CT scans that showed a shadow in my lungs. After the virus broke out in Italy, my doctor told me that I must have had coronavirus. Fortunately, I have already recovered," the 69-year-old added.
Briatore thinks countries have made many mistakes so far in dealing with what is now a global pandemic.
"They all underestimated the virus," he said. "No one took it seriously.
"In January, the WHO told everyone to prepare and nobody did. It was a mistake on the part of world politics," added Briatore.
He revealed what he would have done if he were a world leader.
"If I had been a minister and had known of an illness in China, and in an area with which my country has many contacts, I would have sent someone or I would have gone myself," said Briatore.
"I remember that there were two flights a day between Milan and Wuhan.
"When I arrived in Formula 1, I had never seen a race. So after two months, if Ferrari organized a test on any circuit, I would immediately send my engineers to see what they were testing because that was my job.
"But I don't think any European minister went to Wuhan, and no one prepared with masks and respirators at this time. It implies that we are governed by inadequate people," Briatore concluded.