Why is the race off and when will 2020 Formula One season start now? – The Sun

FORMULA ONE is back – or not.

The racing season was due to get underway this weekend, starting with free practice on Friday morning.

 Lewis Hamilton kicks off his bid for a record-equalling seventh world title in Australia


Lewis Hamilton kicks off his bid for a record-equalling seventh world title in AustraliaCredit: Getty Images – Getty

But it has now been cancelled after fans, drivers, staff and journalists waited hours for a decision from the sport’s top bosses.

Why has F1 Australian Grand Prix been cancelled?

The season opener has been called off to prevent further spread of coronavirus – much to the relief of drivers and staff.

Earlier this week, three staff members  – one from McLaren and two from Haas – revealed they were self-isolating due to showing symptoms.

On Thursday, McLaren pulled OUT of the Grand Prix in Melbourne with their colleague testing positive for the virus.

The race had previously been under scrutiny with Ferrari, AlphaTauri and tyre suppliers Pirelli all coming from Italy, which is currently on lockdown.

Yet, everyone involved with this weekend’s showpiece were made to wait as F1 and FIA delayed their response until just hours before free practice was due to get underway.

This came after Lewis Hamilton criticised the sport’s governing bodies for not calling off the race sooner, while also declaring that he was afraid to leave his hotel room for fear of getting infected.

When will the season get underway?

F1’s owners, Liberty Media, were looking forward to a record-breaking 22-race calendar this season.

Yet, with the Chinese Grand Prix being postponed back in February and now the Australian edition cancelled, the schedule could be shortened even further.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner told SunSport’s Ben Hunt after the Melbourne GP was called off: “There will be conversations about more postponements is inevitable.
“We need to see what the promoter has to say — they’re more informed than us about the races in Europe.
“A number of teams changed their mind and did not want to race. The promoter had no choice and had to cancel the race.
“Now we have to make sure we all get home safely. I think it’s out of the question that we will be in Bahrain next week.”

Vietnam – where the Hanoi circuit is just 100 miles from the Chinese border – is also set to be cancelled.

That could see the F1 season kick off in Holland on April 19.

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