On Friday morning in Melbourne, the FIA announced that the opening round of the 2020 Formula 1 season had been cancelled.
The decision was made only two hours before the start of FP1, and half a day after McLaren confirmed it would not take part due to a confirmed coronavirus case within their team.
Teams and drivers have released statements in response to the news.
“Sadly, this is the right decision. No one wants this, we all want to get in our cars and get racing, but we have to be realistic and we must put health and safety first. The reality is, this is really serious with people dying every day, lots of people ill and even if they are not ill, many people being affected financially and emotionally.
“No one really knows the extent of what we are dealing with, but we should all take precautions to keep as many people as safe as possible. I know it’s disappointing, as sport unites us when times are tough, but it’s the right call.
“Listen to the advice everyone, keep safe. Hope to be back racing soon but in the meantime look after yourselves. We are all in this together whether you like it or not. This is affecting all of us around the world, our family’s and friends.
“We are all the same. I’m so sad to be faced with the reality that we will not be racing but this decision will save lives. For the fans who saved up and came all this way, I’m so sorry for you. Please remember you can’t put a price on health. Take care of yourselves.”
“We are disappointed not to be able to race in front of the passionate Australian fans who have shown such support of our team and Daniel, however the health and safety of our team members and the wider F1 community is of paramount importance.
“Our thoughts are also with our partner team, McLaren Racing as they deal with a confirmed case of COVID-19.”
“We fully support the decision reached by FIA, F1 and AGPC. We believe this is a time for our F1 community to pull together, support each other and show unity.”
“In light of the recent events in Melbourne, with the confirmation of one case of COVID-19 within the paddock, Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN welcomes the decision by the FIA, Formula 1 and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to cancel the 2020 Australian Grand Prix for genuine force majeure circumstances.
“The health and safety of our team personnel, as well as of our guests, fellow competitors, Formula One personnel and fans, is our main priority and we support this decision in our commitment to ensure we do our utmost to keep each one of our team members safe.”
“Can’t remember ever being more excited for a race weekend than this one – but cancelling was absolutely the right call. Everybody’s safety has to come first. Stay safe people.”
“Was so pumped to go racing this weekend, but the safety, health and well being of everyone is by far the most important thing and this was the right thing to do. Stay safe everyone and look after each other.”
“Scuderia Ferrari fully supports the decision taken by the FIA and Formula 1 in conjunction with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to cancel the Australian Grand Prix (13 to 15 March) at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit.
“The safety of all team members is our number one priority, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve rapidly.
“We feel very sorry for the fans who were due to come to Albert Park and support the Formula 1 race with all their usual enthusiasm, as well as all those who would have been watching from around the world.”
“Following confirmation from Formula One, the FIA and AGPC that the Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled, and in light of the force majeure events we are experiencing with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Team’s focus now shifts to ensuring that all personnel return home as safely and quickly as possible and that all necessary precautions are taken in line with Government and World Health Organisation guidelines.
“We share the disappointment of Formula One fans, but the safety of the teams, fans, media and circuit staff remains of absolute priority. We now await further information from the FIA on the status of future races.”
“I’m devastated I can’t compete at my home GP here in Melbourne & get the season started. Ultimately though the right decision has been made & I think everyone can understand this is something we’ve never seen before. Sorry to all fans who came out for the support. Much love.”
“I applaud the decision by F1, the FIA and the AGPC to cancel the Australian GP. The health and safety of the F1 family and local community must come first. As a racer, this was the most difficult decision I have had to take. As a CEO, it was the easiest decision to take.”
“ROKiT Williams Racing fully supports the decision taken by the FIA, Formula One and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to cancel this weekend’s (13-15 March) 2020 FIA Formula One Australian Grand Prix.
“Whilst the decision, taken after confirmation that a member of another team has tested positive for COVID-19, will sadly deprive the many loyal fans in Melbourne the chance to see the race, the safety of both every member of the team, and the fans, is absolutely the priority.”
“Stay safe everyone, and let’s hope this whole COVID-19 situation gets better soon. Shame we can’t race here in Australia, but keeping everybody health & safety is priority. Was really looking forward to start the season, but we will have to wait. Lets hope for better news soon.”
“Will have to wait some more days to get officially back racing. Of course, very disappointed but this is the best decision for us drivers, teams and fans. Hopefully the whole situation will get better soon. Stay safe.”
“Like all motor racing fans, we are very disappointed that the Australian Grand Prix will not take place. However, given the escalating situation regarding the Coronavirus, which is now classified as a pandemic, the decision to cancel the event, taken by the FIA, Formula 1 and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, is the right one.
“The health and safety of our workforce has to be our main priority and, as a team based in Italy, we are also aware of the worsening situation back in Europe, which is worrying for all our staff.
“Formula 1 will recover from this situation, and we rely on its governing body and the commercial rights holder to monitor the situation and guide all the F1 teams accordingly.”
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F1 2020 NEXT RACE
|12:00 - 13:30||Free practice 1|
|16:00 - 17:30||Free practice 2|
|12:00 - 13:00||Free practice 3|
|15:10 - 17:10||Race|