Australian GP cancellation - Team and driver reactions - The Race
Formula 1

Australian GP cancellation – Team and driver reactions

Mar 13 2020

Formula 1 teams and drivers have been reacting to the decision to cancel the Australian Grand Prix due to the coronavirus crisis.

There has been a widespread expression of the support for the decision, with Honda’s statement calling it “the only logical way forward”.

Here are all the reactions from the F1 fraternity so far:

Lewis Hamilton

“Sadly, this is the right decision. No one wants this, we all want to get in our cars and get racing, but we have to be realistic and we must put health and safety first.

“The reality is, this is really serious with people dying every day, lots of people ill and even if they are not ill, many people being affected financially and emotionally. No one really knows the extent of what we are dealing with, but we should all take precautions to keep as many people as safe as possible.

“I know it’s disappointing, as sport unites us when times are tough, but it’s the right call. Listen to the advice everyone, keep safe. Hope to be back racing soon but in the meantime look after yourselves.”

Valtteri Bottas

“All I want to do is race. But safety and health comes first. Hope to be racing soon again! Stay safe everyone.”

Ferrari

“Scuderia Ferrari fully supports the decision taken by the FIA and Formula 1 in conjunction with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to cancel the Australian Grand Prix (13 to 15 March) at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit.

“The safety of all team members is our number one priority, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve rapidly.

“We feel very sorry for the fans who were due to come to Albert Park and support the Formula 1 race with all their usual enthusiasm, as well as all those who would have been watching from around the world.”

Ferrari F1 team members Australian Grand Prix 2020 Melbourne

Charles Leclerc

“We’ll have to wait a bit longer to get back in the car. I was really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel but this is the best decision, the health of everyone is the priority. Stay safe everyone.”

Honda

Statement from Katsuhide Moriyama, chief director of brand communication

“We are in full agreement with the decision to cancel the Australian Grand Prix. We all came here keen to race, but the COVID 19 situation changed for the worse very rapidly.

“From the moment it has officially been declared a pandemic, this cancellation is the only logical way forward. The health and safety of everyone in our team, the whole F1 community and the fans at the track has to be the main priority.

“We feel very sorry for the fans who were planning to attned this first race of the year. Let’s hope the championship can resume as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Red Bull

“Following confirmation from Formula 1, the FIA and AGPC that the Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled, and in light of the force majeure events we are experiencing with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team’s focus now shifts to ensuring that all personnel return home as safely and quickly as possible and that all necessary precautions are taken in line with Government and World Health Organisation guidelines.

“We share the disappointment of Formula 1 fans, but the safety of the teams, fans, media and circuit staff remains of absolute priority.

“We now await further information from the FIA on the status of future races.”

Max Verstappen

“We were all looking forward to the start of the 2020 season. Of course I’m disappointed but we all understand that in the end this was the right decision. Feeling sorry for all the fans and everyone involved.”

McLaren CEO Zak Brown

“I applaud the decision by F1, the FIA and the AGPC to cancel the Australian GP. The health and safety of the F1 family and local community must come first.

“As a racer, this was the most difficult decision I have had to take. As a CEO, it was the easiest decision to take.”

Zak Brown McLaren Australian Grand Prix 2020 Melbourne

Renault

“Renault DP World F1 Team acknowledges and fully supports the decision of F1 and the FIA to cancel the 2020 Australian Grand Prix.

“We are disappointed not to be able to race in front of the passionate Australian fans who have shown such support of our team and Daniel, however the health and safety of our team members and the wider F1 community is of paramount importance.

“Our thoughts are also with our partner team, McLaren Racing as they deal with a confirmed case of COVID-19.”

Daniel Ricciardo

“I’m devastated I can’t compete at my home GP here in Melbourne and get the season started.

“Ultimately though the right decision has been made and I think everyone can understand this is something we’ve never seen before. Sorry to all fans who came out for the support. Much love.”

Daniel Ricciardo Renault Australian Grand Prix 2020 Melbourne

Esteban Ocon

“Will have to wait some more days to get officially back racing. Of course, very disappointed but this is the best decision for us drivers, teams and fans. Hopefully the whole situation will get better soon. Stay safe.”

AlphaTauri

“Like all motor racing fans, we are very disappointed that the Australian Grand Prix will not take place. However, given the escalating situation regarding the coronavirus, which is now classified as a pandemic, the decision to cancel the event, taken by the FIA, Formula 1 and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, is the right one.

“The health and safety of our workforce has to be our main priority and, as a team based in Italy, we are also aware of the worsening situation back in Europe, which is worrying for all our staff.

“Formula 1 will recover from this situation, and we rely on the governing body and the commercial rights holder to monitor the situation and guide all the F1 teams accordingly.”

Pierre Gasly

“Stay safe everyone, and let’s hope this whole COVID-19 situation gets better soon. Shame we can’t race here in Australia, but keeping everybody’s health and safety is priority. Was really looking forward to starting the season, but we will have to wait. Let’s hope for better news soon.”

Alfa Romeo

“In light of recent events in Melbourne, with the confirmation of one case of COVID-19 within the paddock, Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN welcomes the decision by the FIA, Formula 1 and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to cancel the 2020 Australian Grand Prix for genuine force majeure circumstances.

“The health and safety of our team personnel, as well as of our guests, fellow competitors, Formula 1 personnel and fans, is our main priority and we support the decision in our commitment to ensure we do our utmost to keep each one of our team members safe.”

Haas

“Haas F1 Team accepts the decision to cancel the 2020 Australian Grand Prix and all Formula 1 activity scheduled in Melbourne as announced in the joint statement between Formula 1, the FIA and with the support of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC).

“The safety and health of everyone involved in the running of the event is paramount, as is that of the thousands of fans who had invested in attending the Australian Grand Prix, and while disappointed not to be able to compete this weekend in Melbourne – and share that passion for Formula 1, Haas F1 Team accepts the subsequent actions taken by the parties concerned in light of the circumstances faced by the global COVID-19 situation.”

Romain Grosjean

“No race here in Melbourne. Feels like a big thing for us as we prepared very hard for it BUT actually a very small thing compared to the challenge the world is facing right now. Stay safe everyone and try to fight COVID-19 as much as you can.”

Romain Grosjean Haas Australian Grand Prix 2020

Kevin Magnussen

“Was so pumped to go racing this weekend, but the safety, health and wellbeing of everyone is by far the most important thing and this was the right thing to do. Stay safe everyone and look after each other.”

Williams

“ROKiT Williams Racing fully supports the decision taken by the FIA, Formula 1 and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to cancel this weekend’s (13-15 March) 2020 FIA Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

“Whilst the decision, taken after confirmation that a member of another team has tested positive for COVID-19, will sadly deprive the many loyal fans in Melbourne the chance to see the race, the safety of both every member of the team, and the fans, is absolutely the priority.”

George Russell

“Can’t remember ever being more excited for a race weekend than this one – but cancelling was absolutely the right call. Eveybody’s safety has to come first. Stay safe people.”

Nicholas Latifi

“It goes without saying that I was extremely excited to finally make my debut in Formula 1 this weekend but it will have to wait. The safety and wellbeing of everyone involved has to be the priority. Stay safe everyone and hopefully we can go racing sometime soon.”

Pirelli

Statement from Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing

“Pirelli acknowledges the decision taken by Formula 1, the FIA, and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to cancel this weekend’s grand prix.

“As a partner of the championship, Pirelli understands and fully agrees with this decision, taken following the recent health issues that have affected the world.

“We are obviously very disappointed for all the Formula 1 fans who came to Melbourne to see the first race of the season.”

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