Formula 1 boss Chase Carey has refused to call off the Bahrain Grand Prix in the wake of the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix despite having less than a week until the race begins.

Carey oversaw the 11th-hour canning of the 2020 F1 opening round which was announced at Albert Park two hours before the scheduled start of first practice. The race was thrown into jeopardy when a McLaren team member tested positive for the coronavirus which triggered the instant withdrawal of the team from the race.

Carey, who had been in talks with Vietnamese GP officials over its situation regarding its coronavirus preparations, flew into Melbourne on Friday morning to oversee the official cancellation of the Australian race amid confusion with several F1 teams turning up to the paddock having been told the schedule was unchanged and there had been no official decision on the race.

The day before F1 reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton said he was shocked at the sport continuing amid the worldwide coronavirus crisis and felt “cash was king” became the key reason keeping F1 on track at Albert Park.

“If cash was king we wouldn’t have made the decision we did today,” Carey hit back.

“Realistically, I can keep saying it’s fluid. You’ve just got to look at how things have changed over the last five days. Trying to predict how it’s going to look like going forward I just think is unrealistic.

“Everyone wants an answer, we’d love to have an answer, but you can’t force an answer to soothing that right now we don’t have any answers to. I think we have to continue — which is what we’re doing — reaching out to every expert we can, everybody we can, around the world.

“Clearly we’re a global sport and therefore we’re not just dealing with a single-country issue, we’re dealing with an array of complexity but I think we have to continue to deal with those as the situation evolves.”

When pressed on a decision over the upcoming Bahrain (March 22) and Vietnamese (April 5) rounds, the F1 CEO and Chairman refused to make a call on whether those races would go ahead.

“Right now, here, we’re addressing in Australia,” he said. “We will in the coming days be looking at the races that are more imminent like Bahrain and Vietnam, and we will have further announcements and further decisions on how we navigate the short-term elements of our schedule.”

Rumours have spread saying the 2020 F1 race calendar could be postponed all the way back to June and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix which, again, led to Carey not willing to comment on the sport’s long-term plans.

“I don’t think at this point you can start to put plans in place longer-term,” he said. “I think you have to deal with the issues that you have to deal with that are imminent but the longer- term we will see where it evolves.

“Obviously everyone hopes that the world gets back to a place where it’s a functioning world and a functioning marketplace, but we have to deal with it as it evolves.”

 

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