Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey has issued an apology to fans for the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix and postponement of the following three races.
The Australian Grand Prix was cancelled just hours before free practice was due to get underway on Friday, despite a McLaren team member testing positive for coronavirus on Thursday, and there was outcry regarding the lack off communication from both Formula 1 and the FIA.
Since then, Formula 1 has also confirmed that the Bahrain and Vietnam Grand Prix have been postponed, meaning the opening four races will not take place as planned, with the Chines Grand Prix having been postponed earlier in the year.
An open letter to fans issued by Carey on Tuesday said: “We wanted to provide some thoughts and perspectives from last week as we address the coronavirus pandemic.
“First and foremost, our priority is the health and safety of the fans, teams, and organisations of Formula 1, as well as wider society.
“We apologise to those fans affected by the cancellation in Australia, as well as the postponement of the other races to date.
“These decisions are being made by Formula 1, the FIA, and our local promoters in rapidly changing and evolving circumstances, but we believe they are the right and necessary ones.
“We also want to extend our thoughts to those already affected, including those in the Formula 1 family.”
Although F1 bosses previously said that they were aiming to get the season underway at the end of May, the letter from Carey now states that due to the current climate, they are unable to confirm when the season will begin, but it will start when it is safe to do so.
“We recognise everyone wants to know what comes next for Formula 1 in 2020.
“We cannot provide specific answers today given the fluidity of the situation.
“However, we plan to get the 2020 Championship season underway as soon as it’s safe to do so.
“We are engaging with experts and officials on a daily basis as we evaluate how we go forward in the next few months. We will keep you updated and provide details as soon as possible on Formula1.com.
“We are grateful for your support and understanding and we wish you and your families all the best.”