Mercedes has confirmed it sent a letter to Formula 1 and the FIA to request the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix following the outbreak of coronavirus in the paddock.

The 2020 F1 opener was thrown into jeopardy on Thursday when a McLaren team member tested positive for coronavirus which triggered the withdrawal of the Woking team from the Australian race.

F1 held crunch meetings with the remaining nine teams about the options for the race but with talks coming to a standoff an official decision to call of the race didn’t arrive until Friday morning.

At the same time of the official race cancellation announcement, Mercedes released its own statement explaining it sent a letter to F1 and the FIA to request the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix.

Mercedes reasons the “physical and mental health” of its team and the F1 community took priority behind its decision to request to cancel the race.

Mercedes also gave sympathy to both the worsening coronavirus situation, with Italy forced into travel lockdown amid coronavirus prevention measures, while it felt it wasn’t right to compete without McLaren this weekend.

Full Mercedes statement:

“The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team has today sent a letter to the FIA and F1 requesting the cancellation of the 2020 Australian Grand Prix.

“We share the disappointment of the sport’s fans that this race cannot go ahead as planned. However, the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our team members and of the wider F1 community are our absolute priority.

“In light of the force majeure events we are experiencing with regards to the Coronavirus pandemic, we no longer feel the safety of our employees can be guaranteed if we continue to take part in the event.

“We empathise strongly with the worsening situation in Europe, most especially in Italy, and furthermore we do not feel it would be right to participate in an event where fellow competitors such as McLaren are unable to do so through circumstances beyond their control.

 “Our team will therefore begin pack-up preparations at the circuit this morning.”

 

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