COVID-19: FIA and F1 confirm Australian Grand Prix cancelled

The 2020 Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled according to an official statement after a long night of uncertainty in Melbourne.

As we reported early in proceedings, the race was never going to happen after McLaren made the brave decision to withdraw from the race. Protracted discussions with all stakeholders caused a long delay in cancelling the event.

Official Statement:

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 is 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. on;

Minutes before the news became official, Mercedes – whose star driver Lewis Hamilton publically resented that the race was happening – released the following statement:

Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team statement

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team has today sent a letter to the FIA and F1 requesting the cancellation of the 2020 Australian Grand Prix.We share the disappointment of the sport’s fans that this race cannot go ahead as planned. However, the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our team members and of the wider F1 community are our absolute priority.
In light of the force majeure events we are experiencing with regards to the Coronavirus pandemic, we no longer feel the safety of our employees can be guaranteed if we continue to take part in the event.
We empathise strongly with the worsening situation in Europe, most especially in Italy, and furthermore we do not feel it would be right to participate in an event where fellow competitors such as McLaren are unable to do so through circumstances beyond their control.
Our team will therefore begin pack-up preparations at the circuit this morning.

Scuderia Ferrari statement:

Scuderia Ferrari fully supports the decision taken by the FIA and Formula 1 in conjunction with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to cancel the Australian Grand Prix (13 to 15 March) at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit.
The safety of all team members is our number one priority, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve rapidly.
We feel very sorry for the fans who were due to come to Albert Park and support the Formula 1 race with all their usual enthusiasm, as well as all those who would have been watching from around the world.

Renault statement:

Renault DP World F1 Team acknowledges and fully supports the decision of F1 and the FIA to cancel the 2020 Australian Grand Prix.
We are disappointed not to be able to race in front of the passionate Australian fans who have shown such support of our team and Daniel, however the health and safety of our team members and the wider F1 community is of paramount importance.
Our thoughts are also with our partner team, McLaren Racing as they deal with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Honda statement:

We are in full agreement with the decision to cancel the Australian Grand Prix. We all came here keen to race, but the COVID 19 situation changed for the worse very rapidly. From the moment it has officially been declared a pandemic, this cancellation is the only logical way forward. The health and safety of everyone in our team, the whole F1 community and the fans at the track has to be the main priority. We feel very sorry for the fans who were planning to attend this first race of the year. Let’s hope the championship can resume as soon as it is safe to do so.

Williams statement:

ROKiT Williams Racing fully supports the decision taken by the FIA, Formula One and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to cancel this weekend’s (13-15 March) 2020 FIA Formula One Australian Grand Prix.
Whilst the decision, taken after confirmation that a member of another team has tested positive for COVID-19, will sadly deprive the many loyal fans in Melbourne the chance to see the race, the safety of both every member of the team, and the fans, is absolutely the priority.

Alfa Romeo statement:

In light of the recent events in Melbourne, with the confirmation of one case of COVID-19 within the paddock, Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN welcomes the decision by the FIA, Formula 1 and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to cancel the 2020 Australian Grand Prix for genuine force majeure circumstances.
The health and safety of our team personnel, as well as of our guests, fellow competitors, Formula One personnel and fans, is our main priority and we support this decision in our commitment to ensure we do our utmost to keep each one of our team members safe.

Red Bull Racing statement:

Following confirmation from Formula One, the FIA and AGPC that the Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled, and in light of the force majeure events we are experiencing with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Team’s focus now shifts to ensuring that all personnel return home as safely and quickly as possible and that all necessary precautions are taken in line with Government and World Health Organisation guidelines.
We share the disappointment of Formula One fans, but the safety of the teams, fans, media and circuit staff remains of absolute priority. We now await further information from the FIA on the status of future races.

Haas statement:

Haas F1 Team accepts the decision to cancel the 2020 Australian Grand Prix and all Formula 1 activity scheduled in Melbourne as announced in the joint statement between Formula 1, the FIA and with the support of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC).
The safety and health of everyone involved in the running of the event is paramount, as is that of the thousands of fans who had invested in attending the Australian Grand Prix, and while disappointed not to be able to compete this weekend in Melbourne – and share that passion for Formula 1, Haas F1 Team accepts the subsequent actions taken by the parties concerned in light of the circumstances faced by the global COVID-19 situation