The FIA Formula 1 2020 Australian Grand Prix could still yet take place this season with the possibility of the event being rescheduled for later in the year.
That is according to the Australian Grand Prix chief, Andrew Westacott, who has confirmed that the race cancellation announcement by the FIA on Friday morning was worded purposely to avoid any confusion with fans.
“It’s important to say that we used the word cancellation because of the immediacy of the timing of it,” Westacott said when he addressed the media on Friday alongside F1 Chief Executive Chase Carey, FIA Race director Michael Masi, and Australian Grand Prix Corporation Champion Paul Little.
“It was important to make sure the fans who were here in Melbourne, some of the fans who were at the gate, knew that it wasn’t a postponement or didn’t get the impression it was a postponement for some periods of hours or days or something.
“The word cancellation was used deliberately here“, Westacott stated.
Melbourne’s season-opener was halted by the threat of the coronavirus and the news that a team member at McLaren tested positive on the eve of the weekend getting underway.
The upcoming race weekends in Bahrain and Vietnam have subsequently already been postponed in advance and F1 has admitted that the season is unlikely to resume until June.
F1 Managing of Motorsport, Ross Brawn, has also confirmed that removing the mid-season summer break would offer an alternative solution to hosting enough races throughout the year and Westacott believes talks will incur at a later date about a potential race weekend being held in Australia.
“We clearly had been working on the here and now with Chase Carey and the FIA and Formula 1.
“We’ll work through matters, but we haven’t started to think about future staging or anything like that.
“It’s clearly a normal topic of discussion that will happen in the fullness of time,” Westacott added.
However, Westacott has been resigned to the fact the temporary infrastructure put in place for the weekend of the Grand Prix will need to be removed and Albert Park returned to its usual layout.
“We can’t leave it here for months. One of the things we respect here is there are sporting activities here.
“We recognise that one of the privileges we have is to occupy a beautiful park in the CBD of Melbourne, so we want to minimise the impact of the build and the dismantle,” Westacott said.
“Clearly this changes the way we dismantle the circuit and return it back, but we can’t be leaving it here for days and weeks.
“We would expect it to be dismantling and removing the infrastructure and returning it back to the sporting clubs of Albert Park and Melbourne.”