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2020 Australian Grand Prix.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Swami, Mar 11, 2020.

  1. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Supreme

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    Coronavirus: Three F1 team members in self-isolation at Australian Grand Prix






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    Organisers say this weekend's Australian Grand Prix is still scheduled to go ahead as planned
    Two members of the Haas Formula 1 team and one from McLaren are in self-isolation after being tested for coronavirus at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

    The personnel were tested in a medical centre at the Albert Park circuit after showing symptoms of the virus.

    They are staying in their hotel rooms as a precaution.


    "We expect to receive the results overnight. The team is operating as per our normal schedule," said McLaren.

    A Hass spokesperson said: "Two members of the team have been quarantined and remain in their hotel room. They displayed symptoms of a cold."

    The season-opening Australian Grand Prix weekend is scheduled to begin on Friday.

    The Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) has been informed and is "monitoring the situation in conjunction with Formula 1 and the FIA".

    AGPC chief Andrew Westacott said on Monday that the event will go ahead as normal and fans will still be in attendance, though a number of measures are being put in place as a precaution.

    The format of news conferences and media interviews will be changed while fan meet and greets are to be replaced by driver appearances on stage.

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    The way drivers interact with the media and fans is to be altered as a precaution against coronavirus
    Professor Brendan Murphy, the chief medical officer for the Australian government, said that holding Sunday's race would not pose a risk to public health.

    The Bahrain Grand Prix on 20 March will take place without crowds because of the outbreak, while the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, which was scheduled for 19 April, is the only race to be postponed so far.

    F1 say it is "taking a scientific approach to the outbreak", adding that "the health and safety of fans, family and wider communities is always paramount".

    Governing body the FIA have set up a "crisis cell" that meets every two days to analyse the coronavirus situation.

    Meanwhile, the Jakarta Formula E race in Indonesia, scheduled for 6 June, has been postponed because of coronavirus. It is the third Formula E race to be cancelled this season after events in China and Italy.

    Swami
     
  2. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Supreme

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    Coronavirus: Australian Grand Prix called off
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    By Andrew Benson

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    The Australian Grand Prix is the second race to be called off over coronavirus concerns
    The Australian Grand Prix has been called off, two senior Formula 1 sources have told BBC Sport.

    There has been no official confirmation from F1 or governing body the FIA but the news follows a McLaren team member testing positive for coronavirus.

    The situation rapidly developed throughout Thursday night in Melbourne and an announcement that the race will not take place is now expected.


    The decision throws into doubt the rest of the Formula 1 season.

    F1 and the FIA have come in for criticism for their handling of the situation.

    World champion Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday at the official F1 news conference he was "very, very surprised" the sport was pressing on with plans to continue with the race while the outbreak of the virus worsened and other sports suspended or cancelled events.

    An initial meeting of team bosses with F1 and FIA officials on Thursday night, after a tense day in the paddock at Albert Park, broke up with an agreement to carry on with Friday practice as normal and review the situation later that day.

    But the plans changed later in the evening as several insiders - including leading drivers - expressed their concerns about the idea of racing amid the risk of further cases of coronavirus in the tight-knit F1 paddock.

    The decision was reviewed at later meetings and eventually, at around 0200 Friday local time (1500 GMT on Thursday), the decision was made to call the race off.

    In total, eight F1 workers have been assessed and tested for Covid-19.

    Seven were cleared on Thursday but an eighth, from McLaren, tested positive.

    Australian Grand Prix organisers said in a statement a ninth person had been assessed and tested, with the result pending. This person was "not associated with any F1 team, the FIA or associated suppliers", the statement said.

    There is no sense yet of the knock-on effects of the Australian race being called off, but the Bahrain Grand Prix, scheduled to be the second meeting of the season on 22 March, is now in serious doubt.

    A decision is also expected imminently on the Vietnam Grand Prix, scheduled for 5 April, after the government in Hanoi banned travel into the country for anyone who has been in Italy - among other locations - in the previous 14 days.

    F1 chief executive Chase Carey was in Hanoi on Thursday trying to find a way around the restrictions.

    The Chinese Grand Prix, scheduled to be the fourth race, was postponed in February after government officials said it could not go ahead.

    There are now serious questions as to when, or even if, the F1 season will start at all.

    The next race after Vietnam is scheduled to be the Dutch Grand Prix on 5 May, the start of a run of three races in four weekends that also includes the Spanish and Monaco events.

    But with the coronavirus situation developing by the day, and countries imposing tighter restrictions on travel, it is impossible to know at this stage whether any of those races can go ahead.

    Analysis
    The decision to cancel the race in Australia raises huge questions about the future of the sport this year.

    F1 authorities faced criticism for their decision to press ahead with the season-opening race, and it is true the teams feel they lacked direction and leadership from the powers that be.

    But the FIA and F1 were responding to advice from local authorities, with Australian officials saying earlier in the week they saw no reason for their race not to go ahead.

    The fact it has now been called off is an illustration of the speed with which the coronavirus pandemic has developed across the globe.

    But it also shines a spotlight on what some will see as the F1 authorities having rather too firm a focus on 'keeping the show on the road' - as well as the dollars rolling in - and not enough on the realities of what really matters.

    Now, not only does the sport not know when - or even if - the season can start, but the authorities, teams and race promoters have to face the question of what happens to all the fees that have been paid for races that might now never happen.

    The answer to that may well be different for separate events, and it will depend on who has made this decision, who pays for the race in each specific country, and the legal and contractual complexities of each deal.

    In addition, there are the knock-on effects for the teams themselves, as a large proportion of their income comes from those race fees.

    Some teams need that income more than others - and some need it very much indeed.

    F1 is entering uncharted waters, and to describe them as choppy could be a massive understatement.

    Swami
     

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