Will we see a standoff between teams and the sanction regarding coronavirus concerns? Rumors say several drivers have left; Practice set to begin
Update: The opening round of the 2020 F1 season has been canceled about an hour ahead of the first practice session
Last night, McLaren announced that would withdraw their two entries in this weekend’s event.
Following that, the FIA took a vote between the teams on whether or not to carry on with the event. However, no announcement has been released since the event.
The first practice session is in just a couple hours. It’s possible that 4 drivers are not in attendance, 2 are a guarantee with the McLaren withdraw.
There a whole lot of confusion that developed overnight…
Lewis Hamilton is shocked the F1 event is set to continue
Ahead of the weekend, Lewis Hamilton had the following to say, “I am very, very surprised we are here. It’s great we have races but it’s shocking we are sitting in this room.”
“So many fans there and it seems like the rest of the world is reacting – probably a little bit late,” Hamilton said.
“But we are seeing Trump shutting down the borders, the NBA has been suspended yet F1 continues to go on.”
“Cash is king,” the F1 champion stated as to why the event is continuing.
“I just urge everyone to be as careful as you can be – touching doors; I hope everyone has hand sanitiser.
“I saw all the fans going on like it was a normal day, but I don’t think it is. I really hope we go through the weekend and don’t see any fatalities.”
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen rumor to have taken a flight home?
Meanwhile, it’s been reported by multiple sources that Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen both boarded a flight home. Vettel is the number one driver at Scuderia Ferrari. Raikkonen drives for Alfa Romeo Racing.
The rumor above has not been confirmed by either team. However, a photo has surfaced online showing the two F1 drivers on a boarding list last night.
The Australian Grand Prix issued the following statement:
“The gates will open at 8.45am and track activity will commence as scheduled at 9.10am,” said the statement. “Ancillary events, sponsor functions, the hospitality program and all activations and fan engagement activities will commence as planned.”
“The broader implications arising from the McLaren withdrawal are being discussed with the FIA and Formula 1® following lengthy discussions overnight.”
“There will be a series of ongoing discussions with key stakeholders through the morning and updates on any changes to the program will be communicated as promptly as possible.”
F1 event in Melbourne, Australia
F1 has yet to announce a cancellation or postponement of the event. Overnight, other sports organizations around the world canceled events.
MLS, MLB, NBA, NCAA and Supercross all postponed events or entire seasons. Indycar and NASCAR will continue events this weekend with fans not allowed into the track.
Later this month, F1 will host the event in Bahrain. It will be held while fans are not allowed entry to the race track.
It was reported 6 hours ago that the F1 event had been canceled. However, there has been no official word from F1 or the FIA.
Fans suddenly not allowed in the track with no prior announcement of such
This morning, just hours ahead of practice, fans were barred at the gates. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews stated no fans would be allowed entry.
“On public health grounds, there will be no spectators at the grand prix this weekend if a race actually happens at all. That is a matter for them [race organizers] and they will make announcements very soon,” Daniel Andrews stated.
At the gate, fans were told that gate opening has been “delayed.”
The first practice session in the Australian Grand Prix is expected to begin in less than 2 hours. Will we see a standoff between teams and the sanction?
Update: Australian Grand Prix canceled
About an hour ahead of practice, F1 and the FIA issued the following joint statement announcing the cancellation of the season opener:
“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 are 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.”