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Close on the heels of the announcement of McLaren’s withdrawal from the race, F1 and FIA come together and decide to call off the season opener and postpone the Bahrain and Vietnam races to May
The organisers of the Australian Grand Prix and the F1 team bosses convened a meeting with the FIA and officially announced the cancellation of the season opener at Melbourne. The decision was taken hours after McLaren withdrew from the race with a crew member falling prey to the disease. Australian Grand Prix Corporation said in their official statement that priority was given to the safety of the attendees, team personnel, event partners and members of the local community.
The cancellation is big news for thousands of motorsport fans as it also resulted in postponing the second round of the season scheduled to be held at Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir from March 20-22, earlier set to be held behind closed doors.
Ross Brawn, MD, F1 Motorsport in a recent interview was asked “Why did they even plan this season even after so many reports of the Corona virus outbreak from all over the world? To which he replied, that when the planning of the season started it did not have an effect on a higher scale. So they planned to move ahead in keeping consideration to begin the season with a kickstart for the highly enthusiastic fans, monitoring the economic benefits and furthermore. He also said that the execution of the plan starts three-four weeks before the season commences and things were different then and now. When asked, “what made them so long to decide”? He said that a meeting with the FIA, stakeholders, team heads and the medical authorities obviously takes time to make them understand every point of concern, and finally conclude to cancel such a big race keeping in mind that we would face disappointment from a large number of motorsport fans.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team is reported to have sent a letter to the FIA and Formula 1 before the official announcement demanding the cancellation of the 2020 Australian Grand Prix as they could not guarantee the safety of their employees.
With WHO declaring Corona virus a pandemic, the Bahrain and Vietnam Grand Prix have also been postponed. As a result, the 2020 season will now start at the end of May. This is major news and the Corona virus outbreak has resulted in a number of other motorsport events being cancelled with the biggest fatality being the first four races of the current MotoGP season.