UPDATE: The FIA, Formula 1, and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation have finally released a press statement regarding the cancellation
Released just moments ago, Sky Sports F1 has confirmed that the 2020 F1 Australian GP has been cancelled due to COVID-19 coronavirus.
— Mr Lawrence🇬🇧🇬🇩 (@Mr_Lawrence4) March 12, 2020
After a member of the McLaren team tested positive for COVID-19, McLaren immediately withdrew from the Grand Prix. The affected member will stay in Australia and be treated locally.
Before returning to the UK, McLaren team members will observe a period of quarantine and thorough cleaning of all equipment.
About 2 hours ago, an emergency meeting was called between the team principals, the stewards of the race, and the FIA.
After the majority of the teams voted to cancel the race due to health concerns, the decision was made to officially cancel the Australian Grand Prix.
There has not been any official statement by the FIA or the Albert Park Racetrack as of yet, but it is expected that this is because it is 4 AM in Australia at the time of this writing.
Press releases are most likely being drafted now, and we will keep this post updated with any news from F1, the FIA, and/or any other F1 teams.
UPDATE 5:20 PM EST: BBC F1 Live Reporter Jenni Gow just posted this on her twitter:
Chase Carey is in the process of landing from Vietnam so would expect him to go into an 8.30 meeting with AGPC and Ross Brawn plus others to agree how to move forward and announce cancellation #F1
— Jennie Gow (@JennieGow) March 12, 2020
For those not in the know, Chase Carey is the CEO of Formula 1 Media and Executive Chairman of Liberty Media, the conglomerate that owns Formula 1.
He was in Vietnam meeting with Vietnam GP officials to determine the best course of action for the Vietnam GP.
Ross Brawn is the F1 Managing Director and Technical Director, second only to Jean Todt, who is President of Motorsport and Chairman of the FIA.
So some big names are arriving, which would explain the delay in an announcement as the impact the cancellation could have on the support races over the weekend is major.
More to come as it is announced.
UPDATE 5:45 PM EST: Media Broadcasting F1 has just posted the following tweet:
— Motorsport Broadcasting (@f1broadcasting) March 12, 2020
UPDATE 6:33 PM EST: The first really big name has now chimed in. Martin Brundle, former F1 driver and current “Voice of Formula 1” for the TV commentary, has posted his confusion about what is going on on twitter:
If you are confused about the status of the Australian F1 GP, join the club 🤔
— Martin Brundle (@MBrundleF1) March 12, 2020
UPDATE 6:40 PM EST: Teams have been let into the paddock, fans are being turned away and given information about how to get refunds for tickets. Freight boxes (usually only seen on Sundays after the race) are starting to arrive for teams to pack up their garages.
— F1 Paddock Pass (@F1PaddockPass) March 12, 2020
Despite no official statement as yet from the FIA, the FOM, or Formula 1, this is about as firm as it gets that Formula 1 has cancelled the race.
FINAL UPDATE, 6:53 PM EST: Still no official announcement anywhere, but someone snuck out this video from the Australia Grand Prix Council’s breakfast meeting:
— Martyn Massop (@MartynMassop) March 12, 2020
This has been a horrific handling of the news by the FIA and Formula 1.
One can only hope they learn from this and effectively communicate to both the press (including us!) and to the fans what the heck is going on a lot better in the future.