Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey says everyone involved in the cancellation
of the Australian Grand Prix “made the right decision” as the situation
As travel restrictions were put in place and sporting events elsewhere
abandoned, Formula 1 and the FIA – along with race organiser Australian Grand
Prix Corporation – pressed on with the season-opening round.
But a member of staff from McLaren tested positive for COVID-19 on
Thursday evening and the team promptly withdrew from the event.
Neither Formula 1 nor the FIA issued definitive guidelines in the
aftermath amid a series of confusing developments that played out through Friday
Teams were initially split on whether to race, personnel were
either told to arrive as normal or enter in order to pack up, while fans were held
at the gates.
Eventually, at 10am local time, the decision was made to abandon
the Australian Grand Prix.
“I think we made the right decision as it evolved,”
asserted Carey. “I think we feel we worked well with all of our partners to
make that decision.
“Obviously we don’t control how various events evolve — specifically
some of the infections and some of the illnesses. We felt we made the right
decision when we moved here.
“In hindsight you’re always going to look at things
differently. So it’s difficult to go back and look at it moving forward.
“In many places around the world clearly the situation in
just 24–48 hours is very different than it was not that long ago.
“People were traveling through Europe and the United States,
within 24 hours they are no longer traveling between those countries. So I
think these are issues that you have to deal with in real time, make efficient,
effective decisions and try and make sure you’re getting all the input and
expertise you can to do the right thing. I think we got to the right place.”
Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton was among the most
vocal critics on Thursday, suggesting that “cash is king” regarding decisions
Carey strongly refuted that claim, commenting: “If cash was
king we wouldn’t have made the decision we did today.
“I have addressed this so I can keep saying the same thing,
in hindsight obviously things look different, events evolve situations change
we made a decision which given the lead time to come here and hold the event
when major events were being held here it was a different situation in the
“As the situation changed day to day in some days hour to
hour we continued to evaluate that and make the appropriate decisions going
forward. We were trying to digest a lot of different information to make the
right decision at the right time and I think we did that.”