Majority of teams wanted to race despite McLaren withdrawal – Horner

2020 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

A majority of Formula 1 teams wanted to go ahead with the Australian Grand Prix even after a McLaren team member tested positive for Coronavirus, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

McLaren announced its withdrawal from the event when the test result was made public. However most of the remaining nine teams still wanted to continues with the race, according to Horner.

“We were minded to monitor the situation,” Horner told Ziggo Sport. “The health authority, local health authority was giving the go-ahead for the event. The FIA were giving the go-ahead for the event last night. There was a majority that were in favour of running and doing more screening today in the event of any more outbreaks.

“That had obviously changed following the meeting with teams changing position. And so the promoter really had no choice but to cancel the event. So the important thing now is to make sure that we get all members of staff home safely.”

Horner described the decision not to go ahead with the race as “obviously frustrating”.

“I think that the situation globally is changing hour by hour, day by day,” he said. “When we arrived in Australia, the intention was to go racing.

“Unfortunately, following the positive tests of a person within the paddock, the decision has been made to cancel the event. Ultimately the safety, wellbeing of the staff, the fans, the spectators, the paddock, is hugely important.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

25 comments on “Majority of teams wanted to race despite McLaren withdrawal – Horner”

  1. Atleast drivers(Vettel, Leclerc, Lewis and Kimi) had common sense to leave venue even though teams wanted to race and risk everyones health.

    1. Ferrari was the strongest opponent of racing. So I guess that was a team decision and not a driver decision.

      1. Someone mentioned before Ferrari was 1 out of 3 teams that wanted the race to go ahead. Mercedes principal Toto changed his mind last minute after call from Germany. Both Ferrari drivers did the right thing leaving the venue before decision was made to cancel the race.

        1. They didn’t actually leave, they just reserved seats in case off…. significant difference

        2. Chaitanya, it seems that Ferrari’s drivers left the venue because Ferrari had informed them that it was going to vote against holding the race and that it intended to withdraw from the race.

          The only three teams which it seems were in favour of continuing with the race are listed as Red Bull, Alpha Tauri and Racing Point, with Ross Brawn, as Liberty Media’s representative, also voting in favour of the race.

          Williams and Haas are listed as having both stated they would go with the majority view of the teams, whilst Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Alfa Romeo are listed as actively voting against the proposal. McLaren, having already withdrawn from the race by that point, did not directly participate in the vote but were counted as effectively voting against the race going ahead by default.

      2. Ferrari already closed the factory in maranello, so racing would put them in disadvantage.

      3. @magon4 @Chaitanya @Matn I wonder whether that was some sort of strategem from Ferrari, to have cover whether the consensus ended up in favour of running or stopping the event. Talking as if in support of the official line in order to not aggravate the FIA and Liberty, while asking the drivers to get out of communication range so they conveniently could have claimed they “went rogue” if the race continued.

        Note that there were a couple of other drivers contracted to Ferrari’s broader programme in Melbourne for other reasons (Fisichella and Gené) who didn’t have Superlicences but did have international licences which might have been upgradable in the emergency woth a little rule-bending on the FIA’s part (or, at least, given Ferrari a defence of attempting to partake of the weekend, “Well, we could have done it had you been willing to verify the paperwork of these former).

        While I doubt Ferrari was planning to field an all-understudy field in the situation, it meant it had an answer in case its drivers interpreted the “out of communication range” instruction as “get out of the country ASAP” (as Vettel appears to have done – he and Raikkonen were on the 6 am plane out of Australia, several hours before cancellation occurred). I find it interesting that Leclerc chose not to do that (judging by the Instagram, which indicated he was on a surfboard in unspecified Australian waters over 24 hours later). I’m not sure whether that was part of the agreed plan in his case or simply him hoping that there’d be a chance to race later.

  2. GtisBetter (@)
    15th March 2020, 9:59

    “Teams and FOM were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

    1. To be fair, they don’t make much money sitting around doing nothing. The whole business of Formula 1 is kind of predicated on the teams going racing, and Liberty making sure hundreds of millions of people can watch it.

      So it’s easy to armchair coulda-woulda-shoulda the situation when you have no legal or financial obligations in the matter.

  3. We were minded to monitor the situation,” Horner told Ziggo Sport. “The health authority, local health authority was giving the go-ahead for the event. The FIA were giving the go-ahead for the event last night. There was a majority that were in favour of running and doing more screening today in the event of any more outbreaks.

    It was reported that day that the majority of teams had voted the previous night (thursday) not to race, the FIA agreed with the decision. RB was the only team mentioned as wanting to go ahead. Horners description of events seems to differ from what actually happened…as usual.

    Also it looks like I was wrong in what I said earlier about the Vic government forcing the issue. It appears Andrews came out with his statement knowing beforehand that the GP was dead in the water. Andrews was doing a bit of grandstanding, ha a politician grandstanding whoda thunk it :)

    1. Other sources have cited three teams against racing, and six in favor.

      1. @magon4 My understanding is that the situation changed through those 11 hours and 45 minutes, starting at 1 and eventually reaching 8 in favour of cancellation.

      2. @magon4 I got the information from an article by Jonathan Noble.

    2. And I have heard it was an even 5/5 split for and against

      Point is, we don’t know

  4. Less politics please. Team principals like Wolff and Horner are real political stooges. I just read on that Daimler basically told Toto to shut up about the ferrari/FIA engine deal as it was going to hurt their brand and the sport. I felt toto was going to put the sport into disrepute from the start with his letter. Now he can go back to defending his illegal DAS :) I wonder if this break now, will the other teams put their resources to copying the DAS? No point protesting it now, it will be rid of at end of season anyway. Less politics please.

    1. From some of your comments in the past, it feels a lot like you’d be adamantly defending DAS as being legal if Red Bull had come up with the idea and fitted it to the RB16, rather than if it was fitted to the W11.

  5. I’m sure every team wanted to race, but one couldn’t and some others realised it would be impossible to race within protocol requirements.

  6. I’d like to think they saved at least some lives by not having mass gatherings in the stands for at least two days. More focus should be on that being the reason the event was cancelled, and not because a McLaren member tested positive. Honestly I find it baffling it’s not mentioned more.

    1. Yes, just look at the situation in italy, having public in australia with 100.000 + spectators coming from all over the world and someone definitely being corona positive, would’ve spread it all over the public, increasing the speed of infection all over the world, would’ve been a disaster and example italian hospistals already can’t keep up as it is.

    2. Hey John, I applaud your sentiment. I live in Melbourne and was at work when the news came through. About two hours later more news started to come through about how the crowds had all re-located to the pubs and clubs around South Melbourne and Albert park, drinking, talking making friends etc.

      I’m hearing today from a friend in the Australian Labor Party that the real issue was that the Australian Grand Prix Corporation would not follow the example of China and cancel the Grand Prix before everybody arrived, because it did not have insurance cover and would have lost a fortune. However, once one of the teams pulled the plug (McLAren), the AGPC’ insurance cover kicked in and they supported the closure of the event.

  7. I’ll be the cynic and say that the midfield teams were champing at the but the opportunity to score points while McLaren were sidelined. Maybe they won’t admit it publicly, but we all know it’s true.

  8. So much for team solidarity

    Horner, you a word that also has er at the end. You really should’ve just kept quiet.

  9. It’s ironic how the first 22-race season in F1 history will turn out to be the quietest in about a decade. On the bright side, we could still have a 16-race season, which is still as many as we had around the turn of the century, and each one will mean more, which in turn means more interest in every race weekend. Granted, it will be more jam-packed than 20 years ago, but that will only add to the excitement.

    Naturally I wouldn’t be surprised if even more than 6 are cancelled – health of teams and spectators is priority number 1 right now.

  10. Horner and RBR is raring to go

Comments are closed.