Formula 1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey has apologized to fans affected by the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix at late notice.
Last weekend’s race in Melbourne was only called off a few hours before FP1 was due to start on Friday morning after McLaren withdrew from the event when one of its team members testing positive for coronavirus. Some fans were already queued outside the circuit trying to get in, but gates were kept closed while discussions took place before the cancellation was announced, with the following races in Bahrain and Vietnam subsequently being postponed.
In an open letter published by F1, Carey says the decision taken was the right one even if it came late, as the sport now turns its attentions to when it might be able to resume racing.
“First and foremost, our priority is the health and safety of the fans, teams, and organizations of Formula 1, as well as wider society,” Carey said.
“We apologize to those fans affected by the cancellation in Australia, as well as the postponement of the other races to date. These decisions are being made by Formula 1, the FIA, and our local promoters in rapidly changing and evolving circumstances, but we believe they are the right and necessary ones. We also want to extend our thoughts to those already affected, including those in the Formula 1 family.
“We recognize everyone wants to know what comes next for Formula 1 in 2020. We cannot provide specific answers today given the fluidity of the situation. However, we plan to get the 2020 Championship season underway as soon as it’s safe to do so. We are engaging with experts and officials on a daily basis as we evaluate how we go forward in the next few months.”
F1 has already stated it is provisionally hoping to start the new season at the end of May, but that date will be constantly reviewed. The ten teams are set to agree to bringing forward the mandatory August shutdown to be taken before the end of April, in order to free up more space in the race calendar.
For more information about race postponements and cancellations across world motorsport, as well as updates for those holding tickets for affected events, click here.