I woke up this morning sad that I wouldn't be seeing any Formula 1 action this weekend. Then, that emotion immediately turned to pure anger.
How on earth was the Australian Grand Prix cancelled merely a couple of hours before the start of FP1 with the Coronavirus pandemic? It's embarrassing and infuriating.
The Coronavirus has now infected over 100,000 people across the globe, with the World Health Organisation labelling it as a "pandemic" just this earlier this week. First identified in China late last year, COVID-19 is now present in many nations with cases on the rise each day. F1 was aware of this.
Let's first establish a quick timeline. Lewis Hamilton voiced his concerns on Thursday before a McLaren team member tested positive for the virus. Then came the utter chaos and mixed messages. I was expecting FOM to pull the plug there and then...but no.
We had to wait almost another 12 hours for the race to officially be called off. Up until that point, there was no voice from the officials.
They knew that people were making journeys to the circuit. They knew that this could endanger many more people unnecessarily.
I completely understand that's it's not straightforward to cancel a sporting event. I also acknowledge the costs involved. Yet, F1 as a championship should be more ethical in its decision making. It should've followed other sports sooner. By allowing 1,000s of fans to gather at the gates just a few hours ago, they've put people at risk. They must have know that, though.
Well, that's their fault for turning up you may be thinking. Truth be told, I'd turn up too if I thought there was a chance of seeing some action.
One of the biggest issues with the way F1 has managed it is the environmental aspects. F1 is meant to be turning greener - carbon neutral by the start of the next decade. So, please tell me how it's a step in the right direction to fly god-knows how many people 10,000 miles? And then back again. Of course. Once again, the planners and senior board members would've known this but still let it happen.
This whole situation could've been handled with a lot more care and grace. F1 remained almost silent throughout yesterday, causing panic and confusion. There should've been a clear voice and not left to media outlets producing news headlines which seemed to change by the second.
Now, I know that when people sign up to F1, they're signing up to a championship that is absolutely demanding and tiring. This, however, isn't an excuse for what's happened.
I get that F1 wanted the show to go on, for whatever reason you may argue but, at the end of the day, it's made the sport a laughing stock. What's worse is that it's endangered people while they simply go about doing their jobs.
It makes me so annoyed that everything was left until the 11th hour. This could've been avoided and it wasn't. People were waiting at those gates while several drivers were on their way back to Europe. They'd left the circuit before an official announcement was FINALLY made! And can you blame them? No.
McLaren made the right decision to pull out. Lewis Hamilton was right to voice his concerns. F1 was wrong to let this farce go on for far too long.