F1 Australian GP called off as coronavirus strikes

F1 Australian GP called off as coronavirus strikes


The opening round of the 2020 Formula 1 season in Australia has been postponed due to the coronavirus crisis sweeping the world.

McLaren had already pulled out of the race after confirming that one of their team members had tested positive for COVID-19.

Mercedes then appealed to the governing body to call off the race - after their driver and reigning F1 champion Lewis Hamilton had said he was "shocked" that events were proceeding as planned.

A statement read:

"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."

The Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled for April, has already been postponed while the Bahrain race on March 22 will go ahead without spectators.

Doubts have also grown about next month's race in Vietnam due to its quarantine measures.



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