MARCH 13, 2020
F1 will recover from worst ever crisis
The world of Formula 1 is coming to terms with the fact that its 2020 season is in tatters over the coronavirus crisis.
Initially, the sport's figureheads - Chase Carey and Jean Todt - are facing the ire of spectators, fans, insiders and observers because of how the Melbourne situation was handled amid a global pandemic.
"The consequences of these shameful hours in Melbourne will keep Formula 1 busy for a long time," said Bild correspondent Lennart Wermke.
He is referring to the fact that, hours after the cancellation decision was taken but before it was officially announced, spectators were locked out of Albert Park amid a confirmed outbreak of the infectious disease.
Bahrain and Vietnam will certainly not happen, and not just because 14 McLaren staff are quarantined in Melbourne.
"We all need to stay home for a while," former F1 driver Fernando Alonso said in Spanish on social media as the crisis unfolded in Australia. "For our own good."
The next scheduled race after Vietnam is Zandvoort, but the Dutch government announced on Thursday that sports events involving 100 or more people are banned.
"We have taken note of the Dutch government's measures," a spokesman for the Dutch GP said. "We take these measures very seriously.
"We are in daily contact with the authorities and are kept informed every day about the developments regarding Covid-19."
Insiders, including Red Bull's top official Dr Helmut Marko, are expecting every race until Azerbaijan's in June to be postponed.
"At this point our focus is on now," a shocked looking F1 CEO Chase Carey said outside the locked gates of the Albert Park circuit on Melbourne.
"I have just come from Vietnam and we are in discussions with our partners. It's a pretty difficult and fluid situation to predict, but right now we want to deal properly with the situation we have this weekend."
Lewis Hamilton, who earlier implored F1 to call off Melbourne, on Friday did not sound like he expected to race any time soon.
"I hope to be back racing soon but in the meantime look after yourselves," he said.
Italian-based Alpha Tauri, meanwhile, sounded a positive note for those who are worried the sport may not recover from what looks like its worst ever crisis.
"Formula 1 will recover from this situation," the team said in a statement.