Former FIA president Max Mosley is a man who understands controversy and has warned F1 bosses that fans may take a while to move on from the Australian GP indecision.
As the events played out in Melbourne, McLaren reported late Thursday night that one staff member had tested positive for the coronavirus.
It was immediately expected that the race would be called off as a result.
Instead Liberty Media, the FIA and the team bosses went into a meeting where hours later there was still no decision.
Then came conflicting news, some saying the race would go ahead, others saying it would not.
Eventually Australian GP organisers said it would, gates opening at “9:10” only for F1 bosses to call it off two hours later.
That was two hours before FP1 and fans were already queuing outside. They weren’t impressed.
“I think the general principle is that people can forgive you for being wrong but they can’t forgive you for being indecisive,” Mosley said to Motorsportmagazine.com.
“You’ve got to take a decision and the sooner you take it, the better.”
But while Mosley never had to deal with a pandemic, he was at the helm of the FIA during the 2005 United States Grand Prix.
That race saw just six drivers, all in Bridgestone-shod cars, take to the Indianapolis circuit on the Sunday after the Michelin teams withdrew.
The tyres Michelin had brought to the race were deemed unsafe in the banked corners with the French manufacturer calling for a chicane to be placed at Turn 13 to slow things down.
Ferrari team boss Jean Todt, now FIA president himself, reportedly said no.
Mosley gave the Michelin teams options, such as running through the pit lane or stopping after every 10 laps, but they said no to those .
On six drivers took the start with Michael Schumacher winning ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Jordan’s Tiago Monteiro.
“[It was] one of those situations where you have to make your mind up and whatever you do, you’re going to get criticised for, but that goes with the territory,” Mosley said.
“Obviously all big decisions are taken with insufficient information. That’s life. Think of any example you like; if you’ve got all the information the decision makes itself.
“At the time everybody’s shouting in your ear, in the end we did what we did.
“Looking back, it was 100 per cent the right thing to do even though it annoyed an awful lot of people. It’s very difficult. You’re never absolutely certain – far from it.
“There was really nothing to be done because Michelin couldn’t produce a tyre that was safe. We gave the Michelin teams three ways they could run, including going through the pit lane, all of which of course would have been a disadvantage.
“They would be looking at seventh or eighth place. I think they thought they could strong-arm us into putting in a chicane, but that was just out of the question for sporting reasons but probably more important for legal reasons.”