Carey: F1 “made the right decisions” over cancelled Australian Grand Prix

2020 Australian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 chairman and CEO defended the sport’s handling of the Australian Grand Prix, which was cancelled just hours before the first practice session was supposed to begin.

The championship pressed on with plans to hold its season-opening race despite the rising threat of the Coronavirus and in the face of strong criticism from the likes of Lewis Hamilton.

It was eventually forced to abandon its efforts almost 12 hours after McLaren withdrew from the race when one of its team members tested positive for the virus.

“I want to add our thoughts with those individuals that have been affected by this,” said Carey at a press conference which was convened after the race was cancelled.

“I also want to express our disappointment on behalf of the fans. This is the race we always look forward to, great fans here. We’re sorry not to have it, but it’s been a very fluid situation.”

Before the race was cancelled some fans arrived at the circuit in the morning to find the gates were still shut at their appointed opening time, and were not allowed in.

“I think we’ve made the right decisions,” said Carey. “We worked well with our partners. I think we’re all disappointed to not have it. But these are challenging times and I think we’ve made the decisions we have to make.”

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Carey said he has held discussions over other upcoming races in the calendar but the rapidly-changing nature of the threat posed by the Coronavirus makes it hard to predict when they will make decisions on whether those events can go ahead.

“I just came in from Vietnam, so we are in discussion with partners on upcoming races. But I think at this point what we really want to do is make sure we deal with the issues here, deal with them properly.

“In the coming days, clearly, we will be addressing the events yet to come. It’s a pretty difficult situation to really predict. Everybody uses the word fluid, it is obviously a fluid situation.

“The situation today is different than it was two days ago, it is different than it was four days ago. So trying to look out and make those sorts of predictions when you know it’s changing this quick, it’s challenging.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 24 comments on “Carey: F1 “made the right decisions” over cancelled Australian Grand Prix”

    1. That’s all very well Mr Carey but really it was quite obvious where things were heading even though the situation was “fluid”

      Given the logistics, costs and risks involved, hopefully they’ll now take a leadership role instead of waiting for someone else to make a decision. If they don’t we’re likely to see this again next Friday and then again a fortnight after that.

      Just cancel the next ones now and let everyone go home to their families – if indeed they can.

      1. Yeah, no judge will defend FOM in a class action suit for observing the case as “fluid.” The World Health Organization issued a global pandemic and FOM still sat on their hands when they had time to prevent people from travelling to and within Melbourne. They ignored the WHO for sure

      2. Yes, it is an odd turn of phrase. Everyone knows where fluids flow: downhill.

    2. Liberty Miedia let the fans down ! Who would trust them now !!!

    3. “I think we’ve made the right decisions,”
      “We worked well with our partners.”
      “I think we’re all disappointed to not have it.”
      “But these are challenging times and I think we’ve made the decisions we have to make.”

      I like his statements. Very well crafted.

      And they’re all true. Yes – including the one that they made the right decisions, because, well, they have. Eventually.

      It’s the timing and communication of those decisions that they’ve failed at, and need to improve upon.

      Hopefully Liberty and the FIA improve on their contingency planning, and keep all options on the table, instead of preferring and backing only one option before being compelled to consider others.

    4. So, it took a while to reach a point where the insurance kicked in.

      My opinion; The congregation of many spectators was of course a risk to some, at least compared to staying at home, so the gov. had a reason to act, but I can’t for the life of me see how the teams will be safer travelling home than they would have been holding the race with only a few obvious precautions.

      1. Basically the teams told them first 4+ McLaren, then after Toto got a call from Stuttgart, Mercedes and their engines were out too. Victoria pushed for it going ahead till the last moment. They knew this before 4 am, but waited until people were queueing at the gates to announce it.

        I don’t think aal team personell will be traveling back right away, many of them (who were in some contact with the infected people) might stay in quarantine for another fortnight @hohum

        1. You are right, all the people who came in contact with McLaren staff(COVID-19 +ve) will be placed under quarantine for 14 days or more. Depending on their position in the team it can affect them for next race weekend.

    5. PS: RIP F1 2020.

      Financial collapse for how many teams ?

      1. Could save them money if they don’t race. They were saying it was going to be a spending arms race this year before the 2021 budget cap.

        1. Well a lot of that money has already been spent in the expectation of income from racing, if Liberty have to refund all the hosting fees and TV broadcasting fees, how much will be left for the teams to share ?

          Does anyone really think that the risk of contagion is going to go away before the season ends ?

          1. @hohum – I would hope that Liberty get some mediators involved, and all the stakeholders agree to meet in the middle, cutting their losses in an equal, equitable or proportional manner.

            I understand the letter of the contract might say otherwise, with a specific party left holding the bag. However, given this is a truly exceptional circumstance, and one concerning the greater good, it would be a very healthy compromise – everyone loses, but everyone also wins.

            Honestly, if they could achieve something close to this, it might be the good optics that they likely need after the embarrassment thus far. Further, it will also encourage organizations to do the right thing in similar extenuating circumstances, rather than cowering behind the “oh, if we make the call we’ll be left holding the bill” mentality which caused this decision paralysis.

    6. You think there is any chance that we could have the Australian GP later in the year?
      Ofcourse its too early to say now, but is it possible or “cancelled” means it just wont happen this season at all?

      1. Cancelled. It’s a street course in a park. It takes many months of prep for the grandstands and some time for the barriers traffic changes as well.

    7. no chance that there will be a 2020 australian grand prix.

      The last 3 months of building the circuit must now be removed and put back into storage only to be pulled apart again for 2021 in January.

    8. Decision?? Only people who were able to make one are McLaren.
      Clearly having a big moustache is not enough to make you decisive.

      1. And what decision did McLaren make? One in the staff got sick and they crapped themself.

    9. The only positive in this whole escapade is that FP2 would have been a washout anyway give the rain we just had.

    10. If they cancel now Bahrain and Vietnam they will have to refund the ticket holders to Vietnam race.
      If they continue with this over-the-top show-must-go-on approach, they will have to refund not only the tickets but also the cost people had with travel and accommodation.
      If they repeat this fiasco again in Bahrain they have the risk of more team members being infected and disrupt even more the season.

      The right approach in my opinion would be to call imediatelly Bahrain and Vietnam races and try has much as possible to create a forced lock down similar to the summer break to close the factories for a few weeks.

    11. Carey didn’t have to be in Vietnam at this time. He could have gone next week. I reckon he was hiding from the first major decision he’s had to make since he became boss of F1. Carey hasn’t done a great job anyway, he’s still to get another F1 race up and running in the US and he also avoided the recent row over Ferrari.

      I believe there’s a good chance Malone will sack him in the next few days and Brawn will take over at the top. Best of luck with that Ross, he’ll be running around plugging financial holes in F1 until the ship sinks.

    12. Carey should be apologising for a complete management failure. Communication was awful.

      Money is KING.
      Hamilton said it. He is right.

      1. And if anyone he should know

    14. From this point on I’m calling FIA the FIA Corporation or FIAsco for short

      What a farce in the face of a global pandemic

    Comments are closed.