The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic is affecting events of all sorts and sizes and to no one’s surprise, the Formula 1 calendar has been delayed as well. However, this decision came alarmingly last minute as the teams were ready to start the season in Melbourne, Australia with the paddocks in full swing.
Other motorsports like MotoGP had already postponed or cancelled their seasons as the Coronavirus continues to spread at an alarming rate. The new disease has gone global over the last couple of weeks with new high-pathogen load patients being detected in various parts of Italy forcing the country into lockdown.
For F1, the first confirmed case of someone contracting COVID-19 was a member of the McLaren racing crew. As soon as the results were confirmed positive on Thursday, the team announced its withdrawal from participating in the Australian GP. It became obvious that the FIA, AGPC and F1 would have to cancel the event but it still took them till Friday morning to formally announce the decision.
China had already been indefinitely postponed since it was the epicentre of the new Coronavirus since December 2019. Following the continued spread and absence of cure/vaccine for COVID-19, F1 announced that it expects to start the 2020 season at the end of May, depending on how this situation unfolds. As a result, the Bahrain GP, the debut Vietnam GP and subsequent first few races of the 2020 F1 calendar have also been postponed until it is safe for all teams, fans and organisers to attend and enjoy a Grand Prix weekend.
Stay tuned for more updates around F1 as the circumstances continue to develop.