The Australian Grand Prix has officially been cancelled in response to the coronavirus outbreak, which has seen one team member already tested positive.
A statement was issued at 10:15am (AEDT) by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation.
At 9am today the Australian Grand Prix Corporation was advised by Formula One of their intention to cancel all Formula One activity at the Formula One Australian Grand Prix.
In light of this decision and updated advice this morning from the Chief Health Officer of the Victorian Government’s Department of Human and Health Services, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation confirms the Formula One Australian Grand Prix is cancelled immediately.
Last night a member of the McLaren Racing team tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. A further seven individuals returned negative results, confirming that they do not have the COVID-19 virus.
Additionally, a ninth individual has been assessed and tested for the COVID-19 virus, with the results of this test pending. This individual is not associated with any Formula One team, the FIA or associated suppliers.
Our first priority is the safety of everyone including attendees, our personnel, all event partners and members of the local community.
Further information regarding refunds for ticket holders will be communicated in due course.
This response comes after the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addressed the media earlier in the morning, stating that the race would be staged behind closed doors, “if at all”. Given the delay in a response from Formula One’s governing body in the FIA and the sport’s commercial management.
Reigning world champions in Mercedes also issued a statement informing that they had sent a letter to the FIA ‘requesting the cancellation of the grand prix.’ Citing that the wellbeing of ‘team members and of the wider F1 community are out absolute priority.’
Lewis Hamilton was vocal during the driver’s press conference yesterday, expressing his shock that the race was taking place given the global situation with the coronavirus and opining that the race would have been cancelled earlier were it not for the considerable finances at play.
The second race of the season is set to take place in Bahrain next weekend, although it has already been confirmed it will take place behind closed doors. Even so, the future of that race is uncertain as teams scramble at Albert Park to pack down and depart.