Lewis Hamilton says it is disappointing and Daniel Ricciardo is devastated, but all drivers are seemingly in agreement that the right decision was made to cancel the Australian Grand Prix.
The coronavirus has had its first direct impact on the Formula 1 paddock after a McLaren team member tested positive.
That resulted in their immediate withdrawal from the season opener. Not so immediate was Formula 1’s decision to cancel the race.
Now that official confirmation has come through, the 2020 grid have been reacting to the news.
“Sadly, this is the right decision,” Hamilton said via Instagram.
“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 serious with people dying every day, lots of people ill and even if they are not ill, many people are 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 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, and keep safe. Hope to be back racing soon, but in the meantime, take care of yourselves.”
Other drivers communicated by Twitter in the wake of the cancellation announcement, including home favourite Daniel Ricciardo.
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 💙
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) March 13, 2020
Can’t remember ever being more excited for a race weekend than this one – but cancelling was absolutely the right call. Eveybody’s safety has to come first. Stay safe people 🙏
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) March 12, 2020
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. #EO31 pic.twitter.com/Q3I3Z8GIDa
— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) March 13, 2020
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 🙏🏼
— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) March 12, 2020
— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) March 12, 2020
We'll have to wait a bit longer to get back in the car. I was really looking forward to get back behind the wheel but this is the best decision, the health of everyone is the priority. Stay safe everyone ❤️ pic.twitter.com/vKvo5lCtxG
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) March 12, 2020
No race here in Melbourne. Feels like a big thing for us as we prepared very hard for it BUT actually a very small thing compare to the challenge the world is facing right now. Stay safe everyone and try to fight #Covid_19 as much as you can. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/rHcquFLgNz
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) March 12, 2020
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez said: “We arrived in Australia with great enthusiasm, after so much preparation sadly we are not going to start the season.
“But now the most important thing is everyone’s health, we must be aware and take all the measures that are within our reach. A lot of strength for everyone and let’s take good care of ourselves!”
Pierre Gasly added: “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 and safety is priority. Was really looking forward to start the season, but we will have to wait. Lets hope for better news soon.”
We were all looking forward to the start of the 2020 season. Of course I’m disappointed but we all understand that in the end this was the right decision. Feeling sorry for all the fans and everyone involved. Stay safe 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/XwPCOc621H
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) March 13, 2020