After hours of discussion and uncertainty, the FIA finally announced on Thursday evening the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix, which was due to open the Formula 1 season this weekend.
The opening of the Formula One season will wait. The Australian Grand Prix, the first round of the world championship that was scheduled to take place this weekend, has been cancelled. An announcement from the FIA on Friday evening, when discussions had been going on for hours.
Conflicting information was beginning to accumulate. The authoritative teams disagreed and the situation soon looked like a huge blunder. The organisers finally announced a race without an audience, before the International Federation decided to cancel it. The decision came after a member of the McLaren team became infected.
Sky Sport crew and Johnny Herbert just left. #F1 #AusGP pic.twitter.com/5fvzecKK3y
— Ben Waterworth (@benwaterworth62) March 12, 2020
After Lewis Hamilton’s comments, who considered it “shocking” that the Australian Grand Prix was being continued, Sebastian Vettel said he was prepared not to take the start this Thursday.
“I hope the others will agree, and we hope it doesn’t go that far, but if it were to go that far, then for sure we would pull the handbrake,” he said on Thursday.
“We’re a group of 20 guys and we’ve met over the last few years for various circumstances on various issues, and I think we share a common view on the big decisions.”
Reports came in over the last two hours that both Vettel and Raikkonen had already got on a flight back home to Europe.
Formula 1 and the FIA, with the full support of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC), have taken the decision that all Formula 1 activity for the Australian Grand Prix is cancelled pic.twitter.com/rHbc7hlNvH
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 12, 2020
What is remarkable but unsurprising has been the poor structure that this pandemic has exposed – no one organisation taking responsibility to take action and cancel the event.
As outlined by Mark Hugues, an FIA spokesperson claimed that the indecision and refusal to take responsibility for the situation came down to the fact that the FIA is restricted by it’s own rules (which is ridiculous in a highly unusual situation such as this), plus the commercial agreements meant that the FIA and race organisers could be open to civil legal action in an attempt to reclaim monetary losses.
How very F1.
Fia spokesman. “For us to cancel it on our own would require less than 12 cars to be available. But other than that or from the local authourities the FIA cannot cancel because there are too many commercial agreements that in cancelling the liability would come back to us”
— Mark Hughes (@SportmphMark) March 12, 2020
In memory of Bianchi, F1 once again puts money ahead of safety
In Memory of Bianchi: More F1 politics that fails to put safety ahead of cash.
New F1 bosses, same old desperate cash dependency. The simple reason this year’s F1 opener in Melbourne was not cancelled until a handful of hours before the cars were due to hit the track, was once again about money.
For most normal folk watching the news over the past week or two, the notion of sending 6 Jumbo Jets worth of Formula 1 kit halfway around the world as the current Covid-19 virus crisis developed, was absurd. Yet we’ve seen this F1 brinksmanship over the cancellation of races in the not too distant past….. READ MORE ON THIS STORY
Vettel and Kimi already flew back to Europe from Melbourne……..so are they expecting the Bahrain GP to be cancelled as well?