MARCH 13, 2020
F1 took too long with Melbourne decision says Ecclestone
Formula 1 took too long to respond to the coronavirus crisis, according to former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
On Friday the 13th, the image presented to the world by the pinnacle of motorsport was utterly shambolic.
After a McLaren team member tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, most insiders assumed that cancellation of the season opening Australian GP was the only possible solution.
But then F1's notorious internal wrangling began. Decisions were reportedly made internally but not announced, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen got on a 6am flight out of Melbourne, and queues of spectators were left locked outside Albert Park.
"The problem was that they didn't do anything for too long," Ecclestone, at his coffee farm in Brazil, told Auto Bild when asked about F1's actions.
The 89-year-old thinks the delay in announcing the cancellation was because the FIA, Liberty Media and the Victorian government were arguing about financial liability.
"It's always down to the one who officially cancelled it in the end," Ecclestone said. "Whoever it is has to take responsibility, also financially.
"Apparently nobody wanted to do that," he added.