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Australian GP cancelled due to coronavirus fears

  • Published on 13 Mar 2020 00:08
  • comments 9
  • By: Fergal Walsh

The 2020 Australian Grand Prix has been called off due to the coronavirus, it has been confirmed. 

On Thursday, McLaren announced that it had pulled out of the event after a member of the team tested positive for the virus in Melbourne. 

Eight other tests were carried out following F1's arrival, however all returned negative. Team bosses met on Thursday night to deliberate the situation with F1 and the FIA. 

The decision was made less than two hours before the start of the opening practice session.

A statement from the FIA reads: “Following the confirmation that a member of the McLaren Racing Team has tested positive for COVID-19 and the team’s decision to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix, the FIA and Formula 1 convened a meeting of the other nine team principals on Thursday evening.

“Those discussions concluded with a majority view of the teams that the race should not go ahead. The FIA and Formula 1, with the full support of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) have therefore taken the decision that all Formula 1 activity for the Australian Grand Prix is cancelled.

“We appreciate this is very disappointing news for the thousands of fans due to attend the race and all ticket holders will receive a full refund and a further announcement will be communicated in due course.

“All parties took into consideration the huge efforts of the AGPC, Motorsport Australia, staff and volunteers to stage the opening round of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship in Melbourne, however concluded that the safety of all members of the Formula 1 family and the wider community, as well as the fairness of the competition take priority.”

Earlier this month, F1's managing director Ross Brawn highlighted that F1 could not race if a team was denied entry into a country, however the decision could be different if a team decided on its own to not race.

Speaking to media in Melbourne, six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton admitted that he was "very, very surprised we are here”, adding that "cash is king" was the reason behind no earlier prevention.

Replies (9)

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  • *Disappointed Swedish noises*

    • + 0
    • Mar 13 2020 - 06:02
    • 2GRX7

      Posts: 99

      LOL...and what does a "Disappointed Swedish noise" sound like?... Formula 1 had no other choice but to cancel. Just imagine if fans got sick-the liability alone would have thrusted Formula 1 management, the host, and possibly the FIA in bankruptcy! They'd rather loose tens of millions over the hundreds of millions from all those lawsuits coming in! Don't think those lawyers weren't front-and-center in the cancellation conferences!!!

      • + 0
      • Mar 13 2020 - 16:32
    • "Åååh, åh nä, ah va fan, oh typiskt, åh f•••k" or something like it. ;)

      Mind, there is one more option: racing without a crowd and without McLaren and other affected teams, but eliminating the race from the titles. Not as safe as complete cancellation, but the next best. Regardless, the FIA handled this shoddily at best. A very late call.

      • + 0
      • Mar 14 2020 - 14:01
  • There is no country equipped well to host an F1 race, and they have an uphill battle to fight with a pandemic. I wish the summer provides some respite from this onslaught. Health is indeed more valuable and important than entertainment.

    • + 2
    • Mar 13 2020 - 07:18
  • I wonder whether all the teams will survive this - reduced costs for sure, but what about sponsors not getting their value for money - people will need to be stood down in some teams - it could be a major issue for the sport period.

    • + 0
    • Mar 13 2020 - 08:16
    • Every outdoor “sport” will take a major hit. Markets are not helping either. Liberty media’s true mettle is tested. May the fittest survive.

      • + 0
      • Mar 13 2020 - 14:08
  • JuJuHound

    Posts: 300

    I'm dissapointed cause since two days I'm working from home sitting with my kids, I thought after 4 days with my ittle monsters I will get up on the Sunday morning to get some action packed entertainment... but since I;m sitting at home I think it will be good most of us do the same. So this is good decision but not the best. The best would be not going there at all.

    • + 0
    • Mar 13 2020 - 11:31
  • I guess its time to buy couple of 787s to carry its circus by F1 management i guess

    • + 0
    • Mar 13 2020 - 21:47

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AT Styrian Grand Prix

Local time 

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  • Free practice 1

    11:00 - 12:30

    Free practice 2

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    Qualifying

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