The bushfire crisis in Australia has seen over 9.9 million hectares of land across the country destroyed by the devastating fire. The result of this has been the destruction of over 1300 homes in the state of New South Wales and the loss of human life as well as the lives of over billion animals. Perth native Daniel Ricciardo has already said he will raffle off the race suit he wears for the opening race of the 2020 F1 season in Australia and Lewis Hamilton has previously pledged to donate US$500,000 to support charities involved with the Australian Bushfire relief effort. Now, Formula 1 itself has said what it will do to assist the relief effort with just under two months to go until the events in Melbourne unfold.
Lewis Hamilton’s pledge was announced previously through the social media platform Instagram:
"It saddens me deeply to know that over 1 billion animals in Australia died a painful death, no way out, not their fault. My love of animals is no secret and I can't help but grieve for the defenceless animals thought to have died so far, pushing certain species closer to extinction. I'm lucky enough to visit Australia often and I know first-hand how beautiful the country is. Keep fighting Australia. I've spent some time speaking to people in Australia who are working at the heart of this and I'm filled with admiration for everything they are doing. I implore you to join me in thinking about the impact we are having on our planet. Let's work together to make small changes, and encourage our family and friends to do the same, so we can help shift the direction we're going in."
Now, today, we have learnt of Liberty Media’s events to assist following the publication of their plans:
Fires continue to devastate a large part of Australia and the Formula 1 community felt the need to do what it could to help those affected in the worst hit areas. Formula 1 has therefore joined forces with others from around the world and, thanks to the cooperation of everyone in the F1 family, drivers, teams, the FIA and partners, an F1 Auction will take place from 22 January with all proceeds going to four charity and non-profit organisations, selected together with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation:
- Red Cross Australia
- Country Fire Authority Victoria
- Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal
- WWF Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund.
Up for auction will be exclusive items, signed merchandise and amazing ‘money-can’t-buy’ experiences. Among the many items already generously donated are the racing gloves and shoes used by Daniel Ricciardo during his first season with Renault, the helmet that Kevin Magnussen will use in the next FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX 2020, race suits from Alexander Albon and Max Verstappen (Aston Martin Red Bull Racing), Romain Grosjean (Haas F1 Team) and Daniil Kvyat (Scuderia Toro Rosso) as worn in the 2019 season.
As well as physical items to purchase, fans can also donate in the hope of winning exclusive meet and greet prizes including a one to one with the reigning F1 champion Lewis Hamilton and his teammate Valterri Bottas in the Australian Grand Prix paddock. Other meet and greets are also up on the auction block well and these include opportunities to converse with Mattia Binotto, Team Principal at Scuderia Ferrari, Toto Wolff, the Team Principal of six times world champion team Mercedes, and Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal at Williams.
Tragedy, unfortunately, is a certain way to unite a community and the Formula One community is desperate to do all it can for a country that has given the sport so much in the past.
Not only are the teams on the grid donating events but so too is Formula One’s Managing Director Ross Brawn seeing how he has also contributed a prize of visiting the Race Control Room during the Australian Grand Prix prior to having dinner with the winner of the auctioned item.
Any Formula 1 fan eager to get involved should make note of the fact that the auction runs from today, January 22nd to February 9th for the F1 experiences and then until February 16th for products and merchandise items – all information can be found at https://www.f1authentics.com/
As Liberty Media themselves states: ‘Australia has always been and will continue to be a very special place for Formula 1. The Australian people are an integral part of our tight-knit community and we send our condolences to everyone affected by the awful fires.’
This auction is predicted to raise many thousands of US dollars to assist in the state of New South Wales moving forward from this tragedy.