With a very late announcement, the 2020 F1 season opener round at Melbourne has been decleared cancelled. Less than three hours before the green light on the FP1 session, Formula 1 published a statement regarding the event’s withdrawal. Despite most of the teams and fans agreed with the call, many –understandable- criticisms have hit its modality: the decision not to race to avoid a possible Coronavirus spreading should have been taken way before the fans crowded in front of the circuit’s gates, as well as the confused communication to the waiting spectators wasn’t after all really necessary.
Therefore, the event’s heads decided to hold a conference at the race track: Chase Carey (F1 Group CEO), race director Michael Masi, Andrew Westacott (Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO) and Paul Little spoke in front of the medias about the next races.
“We are speaking with the organizers of the next GPs in calendar” Carey confirmed, “but everything is changing very quickly”.
So nothing official so far about the incoming Bahrain and Vietnam Gran Prix, with the first one still planned to be held behind closed doors. Furthermore, paddock rumors say three teams only were willing to race this weekend, so further decisions may bend towards the direction of other race cancellations.
While the press conference was coming to an end, another announcement was made public: McLaren confirmed that 14 of their team members that got close with the infected worker will stay in quarantine for 14 days in the team’s hotel. Senior management will stay in Australia to support, while others cleared to pack down and return to UK. This statement puts a huge question mark on the team’s participation at the Bahrain GP, that is supposed to take place right next week.
We'll have to wait a bit longer to get back in the car. I was really looking forward to get back behind the wheel but this is the best decision, the health of everyone is the priority. Stay safe everyone ❤️ pic.twitter.com/vKvo5lCtxG— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) March 12, 2020