In what can only be described as a sad development for all motorsport fans around the world, this weekend's Australian Grand Prix has been called off amid fears of a Coronavirus outbreak at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.
The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile or FIA issued a joint statement along with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and the organisers of F1 to confirm that the 2020 season will not start with wheel spins on the grid this weekend. Here is an excerpt from the same:
"Following the confirmation that a member of the McLaren Racing Team has tested positive for COVID-19 and the team’s decision to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix, Formula 1 and the FIA convened a meeting of the other nine team principals on Thursday evening. Those discussions concluded with a majority view of the teams that the race should not go ahead."
"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 cancelled."
The news did not come as a big surprise especially after McLaren Racing had pulled out of the race after a member of their team tested positive for the Coronavirus.
Drivers from all over the grid reacted to this development in the same manner. Six-time Drivers' World Champion Lewis Hamilton lauded the decision, claiming that health and safety come first. Newcomer Nicholas Latifi will have to wait for his debut in the sport as will Esteban Ocon, returning to proper racing action after a year-long hiatus away from the grid. Here is how the drivers reacted to the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix.
With the Australian Grand Prix now called off, all the attention will shift to the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir which is supposed to host the second race of the season. The race following that in Vietnam is also in doubt at the moment while many have said that the Chinese Grand Prix may not happen either.Published 13 Mar 2020, 10:02 IST