12 March 2020
Australian GP is off
The Australian Grand Prix has been called off after Mercedes requested the event be cancelled.
A joint statement this morning from the FIA, Formula One and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation confirmed the rumours overnight that the race wil not go ahead after a member of the McLaren Racing Team tested positive for Covid-19 and the team’s then decision to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix. The teams met on Thursday night and voted whether to race or not. Mercedes, Red Bull, AlphaTauri and Racing Point voted to go ahead, while Ferrari, Renault and Alfa Romeo voted not to. McLaren did not attend the meeting, while Williams and Haas abstained. However after the vote Mercedes changed its position after discussions with headquarters and thus the vote went from 4-3 to 3-4.
The statement said that there was “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) therefore accepted the decision that all Formula 1 activity for the Australian Grand Prix be cancelled. The statement said that fans would be fully refunded.
Mercedes said that the team sent a letter to the FIA and Formula 1 requesting the cancellation.
“We share the disappointment of the sport's fans that this race cannot go ahead as planned. However, the physical and mental health and well-being of our team members and of the wider F1 community are our absolute priority,” the team said. “In light of the force majeure events we are experiencing with regards to the Coronavirus pandemic, we no longer feel the safety of our employees can be guaranteed if we continue to take part in the event.
“We empathise strongly with the worsening situation in Europe, most especially in Italy, and furthermore we do not feel it would be right to participate in an event where fellow competitors such as McLaren are unable to do so through circumstances beyond their control. “
It remains to be seen if Bahrain can go ahead but the word is that Vietnam has already been cancelled.