Formula One cancels more races after Australian Grand Prix 'shambles'

Formula One bosses are set to delay the start of the new season until June after the Bahrain and Vietnam Grands Prix were postponed.

The sport's traditional Australian Grand Prix curtain raiser at Melbourne's Albert Park, due to take place this weekend, was officially axed on Friday following McLaren's withdrawal from the event after one of their mechanics tested positive for coronavirus.

SHOCK TWIST: F1 stars left Australia before GP cancelation

‘UNPRECEDENTED’: Footy codes shut out fans over coronavirus fears

Next weekend's behind-closed-doors race in Bahrain, and the inaugural round in Vietnam's capital Hanoi, which had been pencilled in for April 5, have since been called off.

It is understood that the view of the sport's travelling circus is to delay the campaign until the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, pencilled in for June 7, at the earliest.

Esteban Ocon and fans, pictured here wearing masks at the Australian Grand Prix.
The Australian Grand Prix was cancelled due to coronavirus fears. Image: Getty

As it stands, the season is due to end in Abu Dhabi on November 29, but it is understood the race could be pushed back until December to allow room for next month's already postponed Chinese Grand Prix, and the race in Hanoi to be squeezed back into a rejigged calendar.

The Dutch Grand Prix, the first in Holland for 36 years, is due to take place on May 3, but that might now be moved to August, with the sport's customary summer break scrapped. As many as 18 races might be staged in six months.

The historic Monaco Grand Prix, set for May 24, could become the sport's biggest casualty, while there may also be no room for the races in Bahrain and Spain.

There are no plans for the round in Melbourne to be rescheduled for later in the year.

Formula One fans, pictured here looking furious after the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled.
Fans were furious after the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

"The scale of this is massive," said F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn. "We want to try and build the Formula One season back up, but we have to be realistic when that can start again.

"The teams survive on their funding from races. Each race you lose, it has an impact.

"There is a strong resilience in Formula One and we have got plans to rebuild the season and try to accommodate as many of the lost races.

"People need to show tolerance in terms of how we build the rest of the year, and the teams are in the right place to understand this necessity."

Australian Grand Prix ‘shambles’

The new campaign was thrown into chaos in the early hours of Friday morning after the teams decided against staging the race in Australia.

It is understood that they voted 7-3 in favour of the race being cancelled, leading F1 and its governing body, the FIA, to call off the event.

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team originally called for the race to go ahead during the opening round of voting.

But the world champions changed their minds following a tense meeting involving the sport's team principals and Brawn in a downtown Melbourne hotel.

Red Bull, their sister team AlphaTauri, and Racing Point had been happy to press on with practice on Friday.

An official announcement was then delayed until after 10am local time.

There was confusion as thousands of fans gathered outside the Albert Park venue with Paul Little, chairman of the Australian Grand Prix corporation, telling local breakfast television that the race would go ahead.

The word then arrived that the grand prix had been scrapped.