Mercedes calls for cancellation of Australian Grand Prix


If the silence from F1 management and the FIA has been deafening, so too has the lack of comment over the last 12 hours from the teams.

Seemingly avoiding social media like the plague - admittedly a bad chocse of phrase under the circumstances - the teams haven't even been tempted to use the time to flog their merchandise, clearly feeling it best to lay low.

However, just under two hours before FP1 is due to get underway, and with Lewis Hamilton having already 'left the building', as have Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, Mercedes called on the FIA and F1 to cancel this weekend's race.

"We share the disappointment of the sport's fans that this race cannot go ahead as planned," said the team in a statement. "However, the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our team members and of the wider F1 community are our absolute priority.

"In light of the force majeure events we are experiencing with regards to the Coronavirus pandemic, we no longer feel the safety of our employees can be guaranteed if we continue to take part in the event.

"We empathise strongly with the worsening situation in Europe, most especially in Italy, and furthermore we do not feel it would be right to participate in an event where fellow competitors such as McLaren are unable to do so through circumstances beyond their control.

"Our team will therefore begin pack-up preparations at the circuit this morning."

Well-placed sources at the track advise us that the FIA and F1 will issue a joint statement, confirming the cancellation of the event at 11:30 local time, just 90 minutes before opening practice was scheduled to get underway.

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Published: 12/03/2020
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