Until I read that post-race interview with Alexander Rossi....I was not aware they were isolated in their hotel rooms, either. I thought Alexander was exaggerating...but apparently not. I knew they were not permitted to go back for lost or forgotten articles after a leg was finished...even if the items were close by. I was also aware the eat, sleep mingle aspect had been eliminated (I believe after season 12). However, I thought they might be permitted to go out as long as they alerted production and were within a certain distance from their hotel (maybe as suggested for a Mountain Dew and sandwich). I think the only times racers actually intermingle during their down time is on long flights/bus rides/boat trips...and when forced to sleep outside a museum or shop due to HOOs.
Gary has said he would do the race again for charity...and De might agree to it under those circumstances. If they had a "run for charity" race I would hope they would include athletes, writers, musicians, etc....but not pack it with actors.