FIA President, Jean Todt, feels any criticism aimed at the FIA and Formula 1 for their handling of the coronavirus outbreak at the Australian Grand Prix was unfair, as everything escalated so quickly following the positive diagnosis of the McLaren F1 Team mechanics.
Everyone was at the event ready to get going when the mechanics were diagnosed with COVID-19, and with McLaren pulling out as a result, officials were forced to cancel the race at the eleventh hour.
Subsequently, the first ten races of the original schedule have either been postponed, cancelled or delayed, with Australia no longer holding a race in 2020 due to the pandemic.
However, Todt says the ‘acceleration’ of the virus in March left them with no choice but to cancel the race and he says the criticism aimed at everyone for what happened is unjustified.
“I think it is very unfair to attach blame to what happened in Australia,” said Todt to Sky Sports F1. “Things were moving so quickly.
“You know that 24 hours before the start of free practice there was no reason not to do the event. The government was in favour of hosting the event and the organisers were also in favour; the promoter, the local motorsport federation, everybody was [in favour].
“Then, slowly, one event behind another one meant that it [opinion] became divided. So from no problem, to some problems which became bigger and bigger and a few minutes before the start of free practice it was simply not possibly any more.
“All those who, 24 hours before, were completely in favour, changed their minds because of the acceleration of what was happening.”