2020 Australian Grand Prix Cancelled

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The 2020 Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled after a member of the McLaren team tested positive for coronavirus.

This weekend’s Australian Grand Prix has been called off less than two hours before the opening practice session was scheduled to take place. The cancellation comes after a member of the McLaren team tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday. The McLaren team subsequently announced their withdrawal from the event.

It is understood that four members of the Haas team were also tested, but results were negative. In total, nine people have been assessed at the circuit, with the result of the test for one individual – who is not associated with any team or the FIA – still pending.

After team bosses met on Thursday night, the decision was taken to postpone the 2020 Australian Grand Prix. In a joint statement, Formula 1, the FIA and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation 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 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.”

In hindsight, the decision to press on with the Australian Grand Prix – while other major sporting events have been cancelled – appears to have been overly optimistic. Formula 1 had previously announced that they would take a “scientific approach” to minimise risks, including installing “bespoke quarantine points”.

Special measures had already been implemented at the circuit on media day, with teams imposing a two metre exclusion zone around their drivers during media sessions and agreeing to scrap open television media sessions. Autograph sessions had been cancelled and instead replaced with Q&A sessions, while the famous Melbourne Walk – where fans can usually interact with the drivers – had been scaled back, with drivers instructed to not interact with fans.

The move undoubtedly puts next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix – already announced to be taking place behind closed doors – at risk. The Vietnam Grand Prix is also increasingly in doubt, with current travel restrictions meaning that Antonio Giovinazzi, and Ferrari and AlphaTauri personnel would be unable to attend. A cancellation of those two races, along with the already postponed Chinese Grand Prix, would mean that the 2020 Formula 1 season would not start until the Dutch Grand Prix in May at the earliest.

When do you think the 2020 F1 season will begin? Have your Grand Prix attendance plans been affected by coronavirus? Leave a comment below.

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About the Author ()

Nicky Haldenby is a Formula One writer from Scarborough, England. Having grown up with F1 often on the TV on Sunday afternoons, Nicky has been following the sport avidly since 2006. After graduating from University in 2015 with a First Class degree in English Language and Literature, he founded his own F1 website and now regularly writes articles about both the sport's history and current affairs.

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