Staggering $1.8 billion truth about Australian GP cancellation

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·Sports Reporter
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Martin Pakula announced the Victorian government's decision to cancel the upcoming Australian GP on Tuesday, July 6.
Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula announced on Tuesday that the Australian F1 Grand Prix would be cancelled for the second year running. Pictures: Getty Images

The Victorian government's decision to cancel the Australian F1 Grand Prix is expected to blow a nearly two billion dollar hole in the state's economy.

It was announced on Tuesday afternoon that the grand prix, which had been rescheduled from March to November due to an outbreak of the coronavirus in Melbourne, would not go ahead.

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Similarly, the MotoGP event at Phillip Island has also been cancelled for 2021.

The Herald Sun reported on Tuesday evening that the cancellation of the two events was likely to cost the state's major events economy roughly $1.8 billion.

Australian F1 fans were left profoundly disappointed by the decision to cancel the race, with difficulties surrounding the logistics of putting the roughly 1800 team members and F1 staff through quarantine before the race weekend largely attributed to the call to cancel.

Drivers are believed to have been lukewarm on the prospect of two weeks of hotel quarantine prior to the race.

Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula said Formula One and MotoGP management needed assurances this week that Australia was unable to deliver on.

He said the country's low vaccination rate and the Federal government's recent decision to slash international arrivals had forced their hand - however last week the Victorian state government said the supported a reduction in such arrivals.

The motorsport organisations have a set of conditions for each race and that could not be managed if drivers and their crews were required to quarantine.

"Formula One and MotoGP required assurances and undertakings and guarantees this week about the conduct of those events," Pakula said on Tuesday.

"There's a few months to go, but they need to plan, and they need to have contingencies in place.

"Given the very low national two-dose-vaccination numbers, and given the decision of National Cabinet on Friday, we're simply not in a position to give F1 management or MotoGP the sorts of assurances they require.

"Some 1600 visitors in November, with the bespoke quarantine arrangements needed ... really makes it extremely difficult for us to give those organisations the guarantee they require."

Aussie F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo 'gutted' over F1 cancellation

It means, for the second year running, home fans won't get to see Australian star Daniel Ricciardo blasting around Albert Park.

Last year's race was cancelled practically at the last minute, with all 10 teams having arrived in Australia and set up at the circuit before a coronavirus case on one of the teams forced the entire event to shutdown - much to the dismay of fans, who were kept waiting at the gates for an announcement.

After the announcement the Australian GP had been cancelled once again, Ricciardo said he was 'gutted' not to be racing at home in 2021.

Daniel Ricciardo says he is 'gutted' at news the Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled for the second year in a row. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Daniel Ricciardo says he is 'gutted' at news the Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled for the second year in a row. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

“For me personally, I can’t wait to have the chance to race at home again, and it’ll be even sweeter when we do because it’s been so long," he said.

"Fingers crossed things can change for 2022 and we get to see the awesome fans at Albert Park again and put on a good show for them.

“I normally smile, but it’s hard. I’m really gutted we’re not going back home to Oz this year.

“I’m not coming home, for the others it’s not their home – but I know everyone enjoys the Australian Grand Prix and coming to Melbourne.

"The main thing is that everyone keeps their chin up, everyone stays well and stays healthy.”

Ricciardo is in the midst of a difficult first season with McLaren, trailing teammate Lando Norris handily in the drivers championship.

However, the Western Australian star turned in an impressive performance at the Austrian GP last weekend which his team hopes is a sign of him turning a corner.

With AAP

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