Only three F1 teams were willing to run in Melbourne

Just three Formula 1 teams were willing to continue to run in Melbourne had Australian Grand Prix not been cancelled by the authorities this morning – opening up the bizarre prospect of a repeat of the 2005 US GP, when just six cars took part. Story by Adam Cooper.

The AlphaTauri garage
The AlphaTauri garage
1/7

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The Red Bull Racing garage in the pit lane
The Red Bull Racing garage in the pit lane
2/7

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsports, FOM
Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsports, FOM
3/7

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, arrives in the paddock
Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, arrives in the paddock
4/7

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Franz Tost, Team Principal, AlphaTauri
Franz Tost, Team Principal, AlphaTauri
5/7

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Screens in front of the Haas garages
Screens in front of the Haas garages
6/7

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The McLaren gantry over the pitbox
The McLaren gantry over the pitbox
7/7

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Red Bull Racing, AlphaTauri and Racing Point were prepared to race, with the remaining teams not wishing to take part. One senior team member who was part of the former group told Motorsport.com: “We’re racers, and we’re here to race.”

The teams’ positions became clear at meeting with F1's managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn at a hotel in downtown Melbourne late last night, following the announcement that McLaren would not compete after a team member was tested positive for coronavirus.

The majority of the teams wanted to cancel the race, but Christian Horner, Franz Tost and Otmar Szafnauer said their teams would take part unless the authorities say that the race can’t run in health grounds. They were ready to commit initially to running on Friday – with the proviso that if any more cases were confirmed in the paddock, they would not continue.

That triggered a complex overnight legal discussion between F1, the FIA and the Victorian government on what to do next and who would be responsible for the decision, with all the obvious financial implications. Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault – three teams with manufacturer backing – were vehemently opposed to the event going ahead, with the world champions writing a letter explaining its decision.

Read Also:

On Friday morning only skeleton crews from each team arrived at the track. The pitlane garages of Ferrari and Mercedes remained closed as of 10am, an hour before FP1, which is a breach of the regulations. Renault’s garage was open but its cars were still in parc ferme condition, with covers on them.

The remaining six teams had their garages open but only three were making serious preparation to run had the track opened on time.

shares
comments
Australian Grand Prix officially cancelled

Previous article

Australian Grand Prix officially cancelled

Next article

Australian GP: Melbourne non-event in photos

Australian GP: Melbourne non-event in photos
Load comments
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Prime

Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021