Only three Formula 1 teams were still ready to continue testing for the Australian Grand Prix if the event had not been officially canceled on Friday morning.
The timing of the opening of the 2020 F1 season in Melbourne was questioned on Thursday when the McLaren team announced their retirement from the weekend when one of their crews tested positive for the coronavirus.
The meetings between F1 and the teams took place overnight, and he felt that the cancellation was a certainty.
However, the situation failed to find a solution on Friday, with contradictory reports and statements from the paddock and race organizers plunging the event into chaos just hours before the start of the first trials.
The fans were subsequently banned from the circuit after queuing without having entered beforehand, the race having to be organized behind closed doors if it were to continue.
Red Bull Racing, its sister team AlphaTauri and Racing Point were in a camp to participate in Friday’s session, with the remaining teams in the other.
A senior member of the team told Autosport, “We are runners and we are here to run.”
Their positions became clear when they met Ross Brawn at a downtown Melbourne hotel late Thursday evening after McLaren’s announcement.
The majority of the teams wanted to cancel the race, but Red Bull boss Christian Horner, AlphaTauri team manager, Franz Tost and Otmar Szafnauer of Racing Point, said their teams would participate on Friday unless authorities say that the race could not take place for health reasons. .
This sparked an overnight complex legal discussion between F1, the FIA and the Victorian government over what to do and who would be responsible for the decision, with all the obvious financial implications.
Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault – three teams supported by the manufacturers – vehemently opposed moving forward, the world champions writing a letter explaining their decision.
Friday morning, only the skeleton personnel of each arrived on the track.
The pitlane garages of Ferrari and Mercedes remained closed at 10 a.m., one hour before FP1, which constitutes a breach of the regulations.
Renault was open but the cars were still in a closed park condition, with covers on the cars.
The remaining six teams had their garages open, but only three were seriously preparing to run if the track had been opened in time.
UPDATE – A previous version of this article indicated that the three teams were ready to participate in the Australian Grand Prix. This has been changed.