Lewis Hamilton, others rip F1 over coronavirus response as McLaren pulls out of Australian Grand Prix

first_imgBut F1’s announcement came after an unnecessarily long period of uncertainty.Like all organizations, F1 had been under pressure to act as the virus spreads globally. But that pressure was amplified Thursday when McLaren Racing announced it had withdrawn from the Australian Grand Prix after a team member tested positive for coronavirus.”The team member was tested and self-isolated as soon as they started to show symptoms and will now be treated by local healthcare authorities,” McLaren’s statement read. “The team has prepared for this eventuality and has ongoing support in place for its employee who will now enter a period of quarantine. The team is cooperating with the relevant local authorities to assist their investigations and analysis.“Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, and Andreas Seidl, Team Principal of McLaren F1, informed Formula 1 and the FIA of the decision this evening. The decision has been taken based on a duty of care not only to McLaren F1 employees and partners, but also to the team’s competitors, Formula 1 fans and wider F1 stakeholders.”MORE: Why NBA postponed season, and what’s nextIn response, F1 issued a statement of its own:Following the outcome of the test on a member the McLaren team, Formula 1 and the FIA have been in close contact with them on their decision and have been coordinating with all the relevant authorities on the next steps. Our priority is the safety of the fans, the teams and all personnel at the race.In the context of F1’s apparently sluggish response to the coronavirus threat as its 2020 season-opener neared, its statement was not well received.Statement from the AGPC says: “The AGPC is currently in discussions with Formula 1, the FIA and the Department of Health and Human Services in relation to the broader implications of this test result.”Again, suggests not being prepared #F1— Chris Medland (@ChrisMedlandF1) March 12, 2020If only this hadn’t been a completely predictable outcome to this whole thing. F1 looks ridiculous for letting it get this far. https://t.co/L5YlFGUPFe— Nate Saunders (@natesaundersF1) March 12, 2020It’s genuinely impressive that #F1 has barrelled headlong into the #AusGP knowing the stakes but appears to be absolutely unprepared for the high likelihood of a positive COVID-19 case. The sport knew the risks, yet so far there are no signs of any plan.— Michael Lamonato (@MichaelLamonato) March 12, 2020Tonight I’m so angry and disappointed in #F1. This was a scenario that many feared, and it was totally avoidable. It’s a sad day for the sport.— Jon Noble (@NobleF1) March 12, 2020This is probably how we ended up here:F1: Australia will make a decision. Not our problem.Australia: F1 will make a decision. Not our problem.FIA: F1 and Australia will make a decision. Not our problem.— Pablo Elizalde (@EliGP) March 12, 2020I’m an F1 and FIA apologist to rival any, but the lack of a response – and by association what appears to be a complete lack of preparation for this very situation – is beyond belief. Other team members have been told nothing so far #F1— Chris Medland (@ChrisMedlandF1) March 12, 2020″I am really very, very surprised that we are here,” defending world-champion Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said Thursday, via Racer. “I think in motorsport it’s great that we have racing, but I think it’s really shocking that we are all sitting in this room. There are so many fans here today and it seems like the rest of the world is reacting, probably a little bit late, but we have already seen this morning that (Donald) Trump has shut down the borders with Europe to the States and you are seeing the NBA being suspended, yet Formula 1 continues to go on. … The coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in the postponements and cancellations of sporting events around the world eventually altered Formula 1’s plan to run Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, the first race of the 2020 F1 season, among other races.From F1’s site: “Following the cancellation of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and the postponement of the races in China, Bahrain and Vietnam, Formula 1 and governing body the FIA have said they now ‘expect’ the 2020 season to begin at the end of May — though this will be regularly reviewed.” “Cash is king. I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know. I can’t add much more to it. I don’t feel like I should shy away from my opinion. The fact is we are here and I just really want to be as careful as we can be in touching doors and surfaces, and I hope everyone has hand sanitizer.“For the fans, I really hope they are taking precautions. I was walking through and everything is going ahead as normal, like it is a normal day, but I don’t think it really is. I just hope all the fans stay safe and I hope we get through this weekend and we don’t have any fatalities or things in the future.”In addition to the McLaren team personnel, four Haas F1 Team members also were tested for coronavirus after displaying suspicious symptoms, but all four tests came back negative, per ESPN.last_img

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