What a shambles, Aus GP is finally called off

Date published: March 13 2020

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Formula 1 has finally come to its senses, calling off the Australian GP after McLaren withdrew when a staff member fell ill with the coronavirus.

After weeks of dragging its heels, Formula 1 arrived in Melbourne earlier this week with questions still raging about the grand prix and whether it would go ahead.

Bosses, both from the Australian GP side and Formula 1, insisted it would.

However, upon touch down in Melbourne several team personnel spiked fevers and were tested for Covid-19.

While the Haas team personnel were negative, a McLaren staff member tested positive.

McLaren immediately withdrew from the race weekend.

“McLaren Racing has confirmed in Melbourne this evening that is has withdrawn from the 2020 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, following the positive test of a team member for the coronavirus,” said a statement.

“The team member was tested and self-isolated as soon as they started to show symptoms and will now be treated by local healthcare authorities.

“Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, and Andreas Seidl, Team Principal of McLaren F1, informed Formula 1 and the FIA of the decision this evening.”

Following that statement, which came at 10pm Melbourne time, Formula 1 bosses entered talks with the FIA, the Victorian government and the Australian GP organisers to plot the best way forward.

ELEVEN hours later it was revealed that the race had been cancelled.

All teams did initially vote on the matter but were deadlocked at 5-5.

Official confirmation only came at 1010 local time, two hours before FP1 was due to begin.

The statement read: “At 9am today the Australian Grand Prix Corporation was advised by Formula 1 of their intention to cancel all Formula 1 activity at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

“In light of this decision and updated advice this morning from the Chief Health Officer of the Victorian Government’s Department of Human and Health Services, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation confirms the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix is cancelled immediately.

“Last night a member of the McLaren Racing team tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. A further seven individuals returned negative results, confirming that they do not have the COVID-19 virus.

“Additionally, a ninth individual has been assessed and tested for the COVID-19 virus, with the results of this test pending. This individual is not associated with any Formula 1 team, the FIA or associated suppliers.

“Our first priority is the safety of everyone including attendees, our personnel, all event partners and members of the local community.

“Further information regarding refunds for ticket holders will be communicated in due course.”

It remains to be seen whether F1 will head to Bahrain next week for what was meant to be round two.

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