Despite the postponement of the Chinese Grand Prix and the “participants-only” Bahrain Grand Prix due to the continuous spread of the coronavirus pandemic, it seemed like that the Formula 1 season opener in Melbourne, Australia would be pushing through this weekend. However, at the very last minute, the organizers, together with the FIA, have announced that the race scheduled for March 15 has officially been canceled.
The decision to cancel the Australian Grand Prix was made after the McLaren Racing Team announced their withdrawal from the race after a member tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). Subsequently, other members of the team who have been in close contact were also put in isolation. As a result, the organizers, FIA and the nine other team principals decided in a meeting that the race should not push through.
“Formula 1 and the FIA, with the full support of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) have therefore taken the decision that all Formula 1 activity for the Australian Grand Prix are canceled. We appreciate this is very disappointing news for the thousands of fans due to attend the race and all ticket holders will receive a full refund and a further announcement will be communicated in due course,” Formula 1 said in a statement.
The majority of the teams have shared the same view of canceling the race. In fact, Mercedes-AMG even requested for the cancellation of the 2020 Australian Grand Prix according to their statement. Ferrari has also fully supported the decision made by the FIA and Formula 1 with the cancellation. Considering the worsening situation in Italy, they, together with Alfa Romeo Racing Team have a lot to be concerned about specifically about returning home.
The drivers have also supported the suspension of the race as health and safety is a top priority. Charles Leclerc, Kevin Magnussen, Lewis Hamilton, and others have taken to Twitter supporting the decision of the FIA and Formula 1.