The Australian Grand Prix, the opening round of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, has been cancelled. The statement issued jointly by Formula 1, the FIA and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation announced the cancellation of the 2020 Australian Grand Prix.
The official announcement came less that two hours before the scheduled start of the first free practice session at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia. The fate of the race has hung in the balance since the McLaren F1 team announced its withdrawal from the race after a team member tested positive.
The joint statement from Formula 1, the FIA and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation announcing the cancellation said: “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.
“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.
“All parties took into consideration the huge efforts of the AGPC, Motorsport Australia, staff and volunteers to stage the opening round of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship in Melbourne, however concluded that the safety of all members of the Formula 1 family and the wider community, as well as the fairness of the competition take priority.”
The focus now shifts to the Bahrain Grand Prix officially scheduled for next weekend (20 -22 March 2020). The organizers had previously announced that the race will be held without spectators.
But with the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix and the escalation of the situation related to the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus, the second race is also under serious threat of cancellation.