The start of the season in Melbourne was canceled on Friday morning after the fans were already waiting at the gates. At 9:00 a.m. local time, the organizer (Australian Grand Prix Corporation) announced that Formula 1 would withdraw from the event. At that time, Mercedes already had withdrawn publicly. The chronology of events was not something Formula 1 could be proud of.
After McLaren voluntarily said goodbye because one of her team members tested positive for the virus, the news went wild. Sky Sport England announced on Thursday evening that the Melbourne race would take place as planned. They were soon overtaken by their fellow countrymen from the BBC, who claimed the opposite. Reason: The majority of the teams were against holding the first race of the season. A vote had initially resulted in a 5: 5.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff actually wanted to take part in the race but was then called back by the company headquarters in Stuttgart.
By then Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen had previously left Australia early Friday morning. Only six teams appeared in the paddock. Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and McLaren stayed away. Spectators were not left on the track – for health reasons, according to the Prime Minister of the State of Victoria.
F1-Insider.com reached ex-Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in Brazil, who analyzes the situation from a distance. “The problem is that they do nothing,” says the Briton, who sharply criticized Formula 1 leadership.
Ecclestone also believes to know the reason for the ‘silence of the lambs.’ He suspects fear of legal consequences that the person responsible would have to endure.
Ecclestone: “It always depends on who officially cancels in the end. Whoever it is must take responsibility, including financial responsibility. And apparently nobody wants to do that at the moment. ”
The problem: Force majeure, which can normally be used as a reason for canceling mass events, does not apply, according to information available F1-Insider.com. This includes sudden earthquakes, for example, but not a virus epidemic that‘s known long before the race.