Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

McLaren pulls out of Australian Grand Prix after positive Coronavirus test

2020 Australian Grand Prix

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McLaren have announced they will not participate in this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix after one of their team members tested positive for the Coronavirus.

“McLaren Racing has confirmed this evening in Melbourne that it has withdrawn from the 2020 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, following the positive test of a team member for the coronavirus,” it said in a statement.

The team had announced yesterday that one of its staff was being tested for the virus.

“The team member was tested and self-isolated as soon as they started to show symptoms and will now be treated by local healthcare authorities,” the statement continued.

“The team has prepared for this eventuality and has ongoing support in place for its employee who will now enter a period of quarantine. The team is cooperating with the relevant local authorities to assist their investigations and analysis.

“Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, and Andreas Seidl, team principal of McLaren F1, informed Formula 1 and the FIA of the decision this evening. The decision has been taken based on a duty of care not only to McLaren F1 employees and partners, but also to the team’s competitors, Formula 1 fans and wider F1 stakeholders.”

McLaren has not indicated what part of the team’s operation the member of staff was involved in. Both its drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jne were present at the track today.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 148 comments on “McLaren pulls out of Australian Grand Prix after positive Coronavirus test”

    1. If more teams follow suit, I’m not sure how the race can really go on. I’d honestly rather have no race than another USA 2005. But I would have expected Ferrari or Alpha Tauri to be the first teams to pull out of the race, if anybody did.

      1. And also, I wish the affected individual a speedy recovery.

        1. We’ve just had confirmation the four Haas team staff who were tested have been cleared:

          https://www.racefans.net/2020/03/12/four-haas-team-staff-cleared-after-coronavirus-tests/

          1. So is Haas also pulling out? Its a shame really that teams and drivers are more careful compared to organisers of event.

            1. “So is Haas also pulling out?” – How did you reach that conclusion?

            2. Tommy Scragend
              12th March 2020, 12:00

              Why would they pull out if they have been cleared?

            3. Because reading is a very difficult task

            4. Haas might pull out halfway through the race like they did two years ago…

          2. The BBC are saying the race is off… Any confirmation Keith?

      2. Honestly after all the outrage when it was mentioned that maybe not all teams could compete (especially from Ferrari fans), and the clear statement from Brawn that the race would not be held as a championship event in case not all teams can compete, it poses the question whether this now changes, or whether it means the Australian GP will not be fore championship points, in accordance with what as said about all teams cooperating.

        1. If my memory serves me correctly, Brawn said, ” if not all teams could get there”

          1. Only if the country prevent them to be at the track NOT when they are at the track but decided themself to pull out.

            Pulling out happens a lot in the past but races allways went through for the championship.

          2. Exactly

            If a team is prevented from entering a country we can’t have a race […] Obviously if a team makes its own choice not to go to a race, that’s their decision.

            1. Reports here that the race has been ‘called off’. Trying to confirm, no one seems to know for sure.

      3. Given Australia, China and Bahrain and Vietnam are all likely to be cancelled and any teams returning to their native homes are unlikely to be able to travel to European GPs, till those countries return to normal, maybe all teams should just stay in Australia?

        Of all the places in the world I would think the isolation in Australia would provide a safer place to ensure the teams became virus free?

        McLaren won’t be able to leave for 14 days anyway so maybe reschedule the Aus GP for 2 or 3 weeks time? Otherwise I can’t see the season starting for many months. We could probably also organise a second round on the Gold Coast or even better; back to Adelaide!

    2. So no GP of australia!

        1. It won’t count to the WDC. Still a GP.

          1. Brett Canfield
            12th March 2020, 11:41

            First time since 83 to have a non championship race

        2. McLaren werent prevented from entering the country so your quote is completely irrelevant.

      1. “If a team is prevented from entering a country we can’t have a race. Not a Formula 1 world championship race, anyway, because that would be unfair” said Brawn.
        The FIA & Liberty will not stand by this comment. They’ll say that McLaren’s choice to withdraw will not effect race at all.

        1. They absolutely should stand by what they said. If it goes ahead, even with one car absent, zero championship points should be awarded in either championship. In my opinion.

          They’ve taken a big gamble running the event with spectators in place. I hope at least the integrity of the championship isn’t negatively affected.

          1. @gongtong teams pulling out of races on safety grounds is by no means a new occurence. it never was a reason to revoke World Championship status so why should it be now?
            if having a GP at all is the right call is another Discussion entirely.

            1. Two reasons, that I can see @mrboerns. Which are connected.

              The FiA/Brawn said that at least it would not be a championship scoring round.

              Secondly. It’s not through illness. But to avoid the spread of an illness based on recommendation.

              They could ignore the advice and race. Perhaps they would have if they thought points would be on offer.

            2. I don’t know of another time when a safety concern was met with the suggestion that the race would not run (at least under championship conditions). If there are some then perhaps they’re relevant. However if that wasn’t honoured in the past I’d be equally disappointed to here that.

            3. @GongTong,

              This is not a standard safety issue though. It is not that certain cars are not able to race safely on this particular track etc. McLaren have removed themselves out of a duty of care to not only their own team but to all the other teams on the Grid. Should they be punished for this by losing out on points? Or should they race and risk infecting others?

              This is an unprecedented time in sport right now and the FIA need to act with integrity and duty of care.

        2. Mclaren were not prevented from entering the country.
          Mclaren are taking a voluntary action for the safety of their own team personnel and competitors

          1. This. FIA will give out WDC points assuming the race goes ahead in my opinion. If any teams object and point to Brawn’s comment, then they will just say McLaren were not prevented from entering Australia.

          2. Actually Australia requires the whole workplace to self quarantine for 14 days if a member is infected, so McLaren had no choice.

            What will be interesting is if Mclaren are let out of the country to race at Bahrain, and the consequences of this in light of Ross Brawn’s comments.

            1. Not true, it’s the company’s individual decision.

      2. Sonny Crockett
        12th March 2020, 15:38

        It’s still going ahead.

        “Money, money, money, mooooney. Money!”

        1. It has been called off.

    3. This is sad.
      Wishing the team member a speedy recovery…

    4. Wow! I’m actually surprised that a team had the balls to do this. Respect. Surely that keeps them out of Bahrain too? They couldn’t race there only next week when quarantine is meant to be 14 days!

      1. @eurobrun, we have to assume so. One week in not enough as you said.

      2. Bruno Verrari
        12th March 2020, 12:23

        Logically, quaranteed staff will not be able to get clearance and leave Australia in time for Bahrain. And would they, I doubt they’d be allowed in…so, that means no championship race in Bahrain, based on Ross Brawn’s previous statement – and probably, cancellation (unless any of the teams would, incredibly, choose to race for fun and/or test…
        China is postponed and VietNam will probably be.
        Is season start in Zandvoort on May 3 realistic? It’s 7 weeks left and Europe is quickly entering a month-long shutdown right now…

      3. Probably yeah @eurobrun. To me it means Liberty should call all heads together and decide what to do now – they are currently talking to Vietnam, Bahrain is supposed to go ahead without fans, but really wouldn’t this be the time to call off the first 4 races (at least as being part of the championship).

        I do agree that we should have utmost respect for McLaren that they did this to prevent any risk of stuff spreading. That shouldn’t be punished on top by facing potentially even being thrown out of F1 (remember, teams have to be present at all races, bar maximum of 3 – if they miss Australia, Bahrain nad Vietnam they would already be right on the cusp of that!)

    5. Bad news…… I think we are not going to Australian GP ….

    6. Sonny Crockett
      12th March 2020, 11:32

      As a McLaren fan I’m sad but at the same time I 100% respect this decision.

      It does seem ludicrous that the race is going ahead and I am more than a little shocked that the “teams from Italy” are intending to take part…

      1. As far as I know, no member of the Italian teams has tested positive yet

        1. Sonny Crockett
          12th March 2020, 12:12

          But the whole country is on lockdown!

          1. With all of Italy on lockdown, how are the factory workers supposed to get into the office to support during the race?
            As I understand it, there’s 100+ sitting in the factory during each session working on strategy, etc.

            1. Ferrari and strategy lol

            2. Perhaps if the 100+ strategists stay at home Ferrari might just have a chance.

        2. One would hope that especially the teams from Italy took extraordinary precaution to keep people at home, outside of the country, and introduce some pre-screening, etc in an effort to prevent this from happening.

          So far it seems to have worked for the italian teams.

    7. Integrity and leadership from McLaren. I hope their staff member recovers fully and fast, and that it hasn’t spread more widely. I also hope F1/Liberty will show a little leadership in this. They seem to want host countries to make all the decisions for them, but in this context “washing your hands” doesn’t mean abdicating responsibility.

      1. As usual with F1, money is more important than anything else. I imagine if the FIA cancels events, it disadvantages them financially compared to promoters/governments cancelling races.

      2. I hope the whole team wasn’t infected otherwise they will miss more rounds of the WC.

        best wishes from a fan

    8. Responsible decision from McLaren. If Ross Brawn holds his word, the race won’t go on, I see practically no chance now.

    9. We are all going to get it soon enough this is ridiculous, get on with racing

      1. Great idea, let’s spread it faster so that health services are shock loaded and far more people die as a result. Let’s force all the team members to be exposed so they can share it with elderly and vulnerable relatives.

        1. Wow do you work for the media @matt90? Great scare mongering

          1. I’m disgusted by the irresponsible journalism that’s been fanning the flames on this matter @emcm5517. But @matt90 is completely correct.

            1. When I say irresponsible journalism, I’m not referring to every publication that speaks on the issue. Obviously it’s the usual culprits pedalling tabloid junk. Just to clarify.

          2. No, I read what health professionals say and use facts and logic. Most people will be fine, but vulnerable people won’t be, and the main danger is health services being shock loaded. That is what’s happening in Italy right now.

            An entire country is in lockdown. That doesn’t happen due to media scare mongering. Most people are safe, but this is serious, hospital beds and health professionals are finite.

          3. Stop jumping on the Far Right bandwagon of blaming the media.

            This is a deadly virus for quite a lot of people the best way to stop those people from getting the virus is to be sensible and restrict the spread as much as is possible. Large public gatherings are a viruses best friend! Given also that you are active with the virus before symptoms are felt makes this a very big issue. You could have it right now and have come into contact with a number of vulnerable people…

            Not only that but by slowing the spread we reduce the impact on the economy etc.

          4. I work in medicine. This is a real major public health crisis which will leave millions dead without action. Sorry, but people’s lives are more important than your Sunday morning entertainment.

      2. There’s always one…

      3. José Lopes da Silva
        12th March 2020, 13:03

        Are you an American citizen voting GOP?

        1. Hopefully he is, rather than an American leftist supporting leftism and Socialism. That said, I don’t agree with him, but he’s entitled to his opinion and the media is turning this into an apocalyptic event, which it certainly isnt.

          1. José Lopes da Silva
            12th March 2020, 17:48

            Well, I’m also entitled to my opinion, but I’ll keep it to myself to avoid profanity.

            1. No, let it fly, lefty. By all means, let’s hear the drivel that has brainwashed you.

    10. If it’s in the paddock I don’t know if the race should go on. It certainly shouldn’t be a WDC race given the FIA’s statement regarding circumstances where a team can’t race. Obviously McLaren technically could have raced, but it would have been irresponsible and they shouldn’t be penalised for making the sensible decision.

    11. *facepalm* *banging head against the wall*

      MorAns are everywhere. Of course, pulling out of GR will cure cancer and this coronavirus!

      1. Keep banging it, maybe you’ll finally get some common sense in there.

        1. Pironi’s gotta be in the running for COTD, right?

      2. I wish someone would quarantine your needless comments.

    12. I think a little perspective is needed. Stop all sport for the next few months. Taking the Bahrain route of “behind closed doors” still isn’t good enough; media packed into a room, mechanics working in close contact with each other, everyone travelling together… it’s entertainment and it’s unnecessary. I love Formula One and would like nothing better than to wake up on Sunday to watch a Grand Prix, but it’s not worth people’s lives.

      The media has blown it up and the panic they’re producing is dangerous, but let’s have a little common sense. Cars do not need to race around in circles in different countries for the world to function. Pause it all until the situation is under control.

      1. William Jones
        12th March 2020, 12:10

        Glad to hear the news, given what was said yesterday – you are exactly correct. I would say though that the paddock really must quarantine itself at this point.

      2. Totally agree.

      3. Yeah, I agree that this now seems the best thing to do by far @ben-n. Surely since it’s been called a Pandemy by the WHO, even insurance should cover cancelling, right?

        Maybe hold the race in AUS, since everyone is here now, if they feel they can safely do so (not sure about having masses of fans there though).
        Get talking to Vietnam to agree it’s best to “postpone” and agree with the same with Bahrain before just stopping stuff for now, like Formula E did. Then get to work on putting in place an alternative calendar once it becomes clearer what the world will look in several months

        1. Interestingly, lack of insurance is probably driving a lot of the shutdowns in sport and elsewhere. Nobody is covered for the risk of causing spectators, participants and employees to getsick or even dying because of back of controls at an event or place if business. Lawyers are going to advise minimizing the risk.

      4. I think we could came to a day where we can’t have this events even in closed doors.
        But I disagree of the “it’s entertainment”, yes it is. But right now we need people to stay at home, and everything we can do to entertain people at home is good. Here in my country the universities and other stuff closed and people went to the beach. That’s where I think tv entertainment is very important this days.

        1. So, we’re sacrificing the people that work in the entertainment industry because everyone else is bored at home? You have films, books, games and all sorts to keep you occupied for a month or two. Get a grip.

          1. No, I’m not sacrificing them, at all. But for some entertainment you don’t need a lot of people gathered together.
            You can broadcast a professional football match with <50 players/coaches (people that usually are not that mixed with the rest of the population, they usually don't go to malls, to cinemas, travel in private plane etc. ) and with less risk, and with very few TV producing team and part of that producing could be remote, (the match narration and comments could be make remote), the tv cameras are not in direct contact with anyone else most of the time, etc.

            Of course this is not valid in Italy where even with the extra layer of isolation the pro-athletes have a Juventus player is infected.

    13. There’s more important things than F1. Get a grip anyone saying this is blown out of proportion. Come back to us when your elderly relative dies from complications of this because many nations have done so poorly to slow the spread (eyes UK and especially US which is an actual joke of a place).

      Will the race even go ahead at this rate? Crazy times indeed.

    14. I can only think that the team member involved is critical to operations, or had/requires contact with other team members that were critical to race operations. I doubt they made this decision lightly.

      There’s not much point speculating and throwing around insults to anyone. If the race goes ahead, or not, whatever will be will be. Don’t understand why people are getting so worked up about it.

      Pro-tip: Focus on your own health and stress less. Stressing only weakens the bodies immune response. Stay safe everyone.

      1. I think that since there is all the chance of “some” contact with team members (not to mention the rest of the plane), the prudent thing to do is self quarantine a large chunk of the garage, possibly do tests, and look at who they were in contact with in the last few days to prevent this from snowballing into the whole grid @skipgamer.

    15. Hats off to McLaren. It’s not easy to take this decision amidst all the corporate pressure. I hope everyone stays safe and positive, these are measures that have to be taken. The race promoters and organisers should take heed of this, and stop the “business as usual” mantra.

    16. Yes just like influenza and the common cold, canning the race might make you feel warm and fuzzy like you made a difference.. but it won’t

      1. William Jones
        12th March 2020, 12:13

        That’s how exponentials work, a small change earlier makes a much larger difference later. It might seem like nothing, but it could prevent a non-significant number of Aussies needing to go to hospital in a couple of weeks time.

        1. William Jones
          12th March 2020, 12:33

          non-insignificant…. I meant non-insignificant!!

          1. You really mean ‘significant’ don’t you not?

            1. William Jones
              12th March 2020, 13:25

              Oh god, English is not my first language… I don’t know?

              Let me illustrate what I mean with an example:

              China started social isolation on day 20 when they had 400ish confirmed cases. Had they waited a single day, and started it on day 21, when they had 600 confirmed cases, they would have suffered 40% more hospitalisations than they did. Remember, this is a country that built 2 hospitals to cope and still couldn’t! That’s the power of exponentials!

            2. Meant to be @william jones: I’m just so impressed by china’s ability to deal with this, they basically stopped the virus in 1,5 months, look at the situation in italy after the same amount of time (rumors are it started during dec in china and nov in italy): cases are increasing more each day that passes, as in 2k more than yesterday, then 3k more than previous day.

        2. I had been trying to find this information that you just mentioned..

          “China started social isolation on day 20 when they had 400ish confirmed cases”

          is there a link or source you could provide, perhaps even graph? Id like to compare it with the UK handling of the situation.

          Currently 500+ known cases in the UK and would have thought they would have issued social isolation by now in tandem with China’s efforts, but they haven’t…

          1. Pretty good explanation of the epidemiological math at https://youtu.be/Kas0tIxDvrg
            and all the graphs and data you can eat at Oxford Uni
            https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus

      2. This isn’t like influenza or common cold, there are vaccines for those. If this spreads too quickly it will be a complete meltdown on so many levels in society.

      3. @emcm5517 Well said indeed. People seem to lose sight of the fact (or are simply not aware) that this is a manufactured crisis. Whatever the “solution” might be, it was in place long before the break out. Mass panic and hysteria is simply what will compel the sheep to follow the advice that will appear within the next few weeks. Like the “attack” of 911 was used as an excuse to promulgate the Patriot Act, and usher in a new era of American Imperialism. In stead of people opening their eyes, or fanning away the smoke and asking the correct questions, they would rather partake in “virtue signalling”, each individual holier the next, outdoing his neigbour in trying to show more empathy and “doing the right thing”.

      4. Wow you just don’t get it, do you? You think it is OK to spread this virus even more to overwhelm the social services meaning that more people than necessary will die. We all know (or should know by now) that we are not going to stop the spead, what we can hope to do is to slow down the spread to enable hospitals to cope with the weak that will have to be hospitalized in ICUs.

      5. Nope, this virus is spread far more easily and is less easily fought off than Flu. We also immunisation programs for Flu which help protect the vulnerable, we do not have such a preventative immunisation for this virus yet. Grow up and get some common sense.

      6. Repeating this over and over again won’t make it any more true.

    17. RocketTankski
      12th March 2020, 12:06

      Covid19 virus! Covid19! Argh!

      1. It’s the Coronavirus, that is the common name given to it. No different than Spanish Flu, German Measles, Rocky Mountain Spotten Fever, Valley Fever, etc.

        Grow up!

          1. How? Hmm, let’s hear it. Shove your political correctness!

    18. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      12th March 2020, 12:07

      None of this stuff related to the virus can be helped, but it doesn’t help that NowTV don’t seem to have considered just how much this year is going to be effected. They are charging nearly £200 for the 9 month deal. In the terms and conditions, they do have a guaranteed free week pass for any races that get postponed. But they state that it is not applicable for cancelled races. And just how many of these could there be? Paying this fixed price for a season that could turn out to have so many races cancelled (which they should have known at the time) seems a bit unreasonable to me.

      I think they should have reduced the price a lot because of the circumstances. Given Channel 4 will be getting extended highlights (longer and earlier after the race this year), many will probably skip this offer. It is way too expensive, especially as we don’t know how long the season will be. If I want to watch every race that is on this year live, I really don’t know what way will be decent value.

      1. That’s a big concern right now for everyone. If only the papers would talk more about what matters.

      2. Yes, that’s exactly what we should be talking about right now.

        JFC.

      3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        12th March 2020, 12:40

        I stated at the top that none of this stuff could be helped, other than them charging a fortune for a season that isn’t going to feature the normal number of races. Cancelling races is totally understandable. I just think it is unreasonable to charge this price for the whole season when we just don’t know if even half of the races may end up not going ahead.

        1. @thegianthogweed Indeed, it’s an utter outrage they didn’t spend all that subscriber money on a much more accurate crystal ball!

      4. A Nowtv season pass is my usual way of watching. Obviously that is hardly attractive now when there is a question mark over the whole F1 season.

    19. It is late evening now here in Australia. I fully expect this weekend of racing to be cancelled tomorrow morning, it is the right to do, I don’t want Australia’s infected to rise the way it has in Italy, where 6% of infected are dieing, similar number in ICU, and health system on the brink of collapse. The infection rate needs to stay plateaued, slow rate while a vaccine is developed. If the FIA doesn’t make the decision over night, I am sure the state of Victoria will, this will include all support races.

      1. I won’t be the least surprised if that’s the case. The government may well have to make the decision because it’s been obvious the organisers won’t.

        Problem is that it’s probably too late. With the T20 grand final and F1 there’s already been hundreds in packed planes arriving in Melbourne from all ports, out eating meals, in hotels etc etc.

        I expect there will be a sharp spike in cases over the next week or os.

      2. I am happy to read that those closest to the troubled places seem to be the ones that post the most nuanced, sensible messages here —rather than following the example of a certain ‘stable genius’. Australia already faced a major disaster in the past months. I hope the country is able to put an early stop to this. Best of luck, kpcart.

        1. Look at Italy, their number of cases 2 weeks ago is where Australia is now. Italy is proof of what a disaster this can become. Hospitals overflowed, no where to go now for infected old people= more death than if they can get health care. Countries need to take action quick and plateau the infection rate. this race weekend must be cancelled. The country I am most worried for is USA, where they aren’t testing uninsured people, because their uneducated public on social democracy considers public health care as dictator led communism, which ironically usually runs a better health care system.

    20. Honestly just call it off.

      We can’t go on like this and now the teams are affected, there’s honestly no point in further risks by playing on.

      The weekend hasn’t started, it’ll be a disappointment for the fans, but safety comes first.

      Cancel Bahrain too, and re-assess because right now, we’re just putting people at unneeded risk by sauing “the show must go on”.

      1. Definitely agree.

    21. Cancelling sports events at the start of a pandemic is actually an investment. They might lose some money now, but can restart making money more smoothly after a while. Going for the cash grab now might cause the virus to spread too quick, resulting in longer term setbacks later. It took the NBA just one infection to suspend the season, that is not media flaming the waves like some suggest, that is being proactive in the community.

    22. I’m sufficiently obsessive that I’ll almost cry if a lot of races are cancelled and the season is delayed, but F1 paddocks are small places. If the virus is in there, and it is, every minute spent working on the cars, doing media work, hospitality, etc, increases the risk… I think they need to cancel this, drop Bahrain and Vietnam too, and see if Zandvoort can be the opener. If not, move back further.

      1. Fully agree with every word. Given the situation in China where the virus has just now began to fade away, I would say Netherlands or even Spain might not make it. Monaco would be relatively safe.

        1. I live in the Netherlands, not far from Zandvoort, and the current general expectation is that we will move to a complete lockdown in the next few days, lasting at least a month. So it remains to be seen whether Zandvoort can stay on the calendar as it stands.

          1. Thank you for the information and stay safe. I hope the situation in the Netherlands won’t go down the Italian way. Take care.

      2. If extensive testing is instituted by the FIA and the Teams, a Bahrain-type proposition will be possible for the majority of races between now and July-ending.
        You test and isolate those who are positive. The problem is with low frequency of testing, thus the need for mass quarantine (which is a blunt instrument).

    23. I didn’t really see this coming. As another posted above before me, I could’ve expected this more from Ferrari or AlphaTauri than from a team not based in Italy.

      1. It is in 126 countries now, more and more by the day. This is a world pandemic, let’s not pick on Italy, they just got if a week or 2 earlier than others.

        1. That is true, but at present time the amount of infected people for obvious reasons doesn’t compare, so I too wouldn’t have expected an UK based team to pull out rather than an italian one.

    24. José Lopes da Silva
      12th March 2020, 13:18

      Let’s think positive. If we lose 6 grand prix, we will still have a 16 race season, like in the nineties.

      (Make it with no points or cancel it. It would be utter unfair to McLaren.)

    25. 4 of Haas personel are cleared and aren’t infected. So cancel the Race because of one Infection?

      1. Yes, one person can infect hundreds, and probably has, they will infect others over the weekend and it will multiply, next thing in 3 weeks Australia has 2000 deaths in a short period of time like Italy.

          1. Is cancelling the event likely to make much difference though? I’m not saying the race should go ahead, I’m not qualified to make that decision, but ultimately, it is possible the same number of people will be infected whether the race goes ahead or not. Also, our UK government (if you can call it that) seems to want to delay the full onslaught of Covid-19 until later in the year when the weather is warmer, yet Australia are heading the other way weather-wise and into Autumn…

            1. I think it’s gonna make a difference indeed, just because of the different rate at which people might be infected: if you end up with 50% of the country’s population infected in a period of a couple of months it’ll be different than the same happening in a week’s period, hospitals need all the time they can get to cure people before new ones come in, there’s not endless doctors and such.

    26. I’ll be disappointed if the race goes ahead and McLaren are penalised for acting responsibly, especially when every point counts in the midfield.

    27. They are the most populist nation, so odds on if a virus starts it can start there. They took huge action, and have actually contained per capita more than other countries. Only a small portion of their population is into the live eating, that is because they have the highest amount of people so have pockets of all sorts. You should not think in terms of countries, patriotism and race, but in terms of planet earth. USA has more to answer for on the coming weeks and months in their pathetic response.. idiot Trump called it a democratic hoax for political points for goodness sakes…

    28. Just in: until further notice all public events in the Netherlands are to be canceled/postponed. This measure will be in effect till at least March 31. No full lockdown yet though (e.g., primary and secondary schools remain open).

    29. BBC saying Australia cancelled according to two F1 sources.

    30. Motorsport.com reporting race likely to be cancelled with teams in agreement. St.peterburg Indycar races also stopping ticket sales

    31. Sky Sports in UK now reporting that the Australian GP is off. Majority of teams decided not to continue so it isn’t happening now.
      It’s a shame; we were all looking forward to the race. But it is the right decision.

    32. Yep, been cancelled.

    33. At this point, as far as I’m concerned, the whole paddock needs to be in quarantine, in case they’re incubating the same illness. The whole thing has been a frustrating mess. Well done to McLaren for standing by their staff member like this, and shame on F1 for not cancelling as soon as it was apparent that paddock quarantine was needed.

    34. steveetienne, way up near the beginning of these interesting comments, first said that the race was called off. https://www.bbc.com/sport/formula1/51849163 has confirmed. This entire thread has been thought provoking for the most part. I am saddened.

    35. Well, this season could be over before it starts.

      Let’s make a petition for F1 home office: make it a Sim Racing season with live broadcast.

      1. That would shuffle the deck nicely! Lando and Max are fanatic sim racers, whereas Lewis has previously stated having no interest in it at all…

        1. @maxv I don’t think that’s a daft idea at all. They could just throw themselves at it, yes there would be crashes, Lewis wouldn’t come first, Vettel & Kimi probably fighting for last; but they can argue their speciality is real cars. Licenses might be an issue, so it might have to be Codemasters, but who cares, it’d be good fun to watch. F1 can argue it’s ‘good publicity’ in what is surely a massively poor decision to fly that many people to Australia, and try and save some face when recriminations will surely be happening. With no races happening, let them race from home, they could do it quarantined even.

    36. There is increasing pressure on the Australian federal government to ban all public gatherings…immediately. The Chief Medical Officers advise is being called into question by some medical experts as being politically motivated. The governments attitude to the public and actions of looking after business and profits first and putting people somewhat further down the list is wearing very thin.
      So it looks likely the Australian GP F1 will be called off.

    37. What a joke. The race is off, surely.
      All this for naught. Insanity. The western can’t cope with epidemics. Thousands upon thousands get tested, most have a cold or a flu, some have the new flu, we’re disregarding all the others and closing off the west because of 2 strains of a virus, clogging everything because of the new virus that is as global as the others

      1. Pray tell how the East, South or North (or wherever the rock lies that you live under) is dealing with it, so we can all learn from your wisdom?

    38. Well this thread went downhill fast. This is not what I expected from the usually calm, reasoned, and, above all, polite members of this blog.

    39. Why do I get a stronger and stronger feeling that FIA and Liberty will fail miserably? Three hours to the first practice, people lined-up at the gates and they are still “negotiating” or how do you want to call it. Teams are allegedly divided on going ahead and some of the drivers have already left Australia (Vettel and Raikkonen according to some journos, Mark Hughes for instance), so if FIA won’t issue any statement as soon as possible, they will be an incompetent stock with no credit whatsoever. This is going to be beyond Indy 500 proportions.

      1. Indy 2005, sorry. A late hour.

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