The Australian Formula One Grand Prix was canceled Friday over coronavirus concerns

By Georgia Slater
March 13, 2020 09:12 AM

British racing driver Lewis Hamilton is speaking out following Formula 1’s decision to cancel the Australian Grand Prix amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, the auto racing company called off the weekend’s season-opener in Melbourne after a participating team member tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from F1.

Following the announcement, Hamilton, 35, shared his thoughts on his Instagram Story, calling the cancellation the “right decision.”

Lewis Hamilton Instagram

“No one wants this, we all want to get in our cars and get racing, but we have to be realistic and we must put health and safety first,” the six-time world champion said. “The reality is, this is really serious with people dying every day, lots of people ill and even if they are not ill, many people being affected financially and emotionally.”

The driver went on to explain that while the decision is “disappointing” that he “hopes to be back to racing soon.”

Hamilton also noted how serious the coronavirus has gotten over the past few months.

“Remember we warned about the #coronavirus in JANUARY and people said we were taking it too seriously…how about now?!?” he added.

Lewis Hamilton Instagram

He continued in a final post, “This has honestly been one of the most difficult days. I’ve raced my whole life, so much preparation has gone into being here … The uncertainty in the world, what a scary time it is.”

According to ESPN, after canceling the Australian Grand Prix, sources told the outlet that Formula 1 will reportedly call off the Bahrain and Vietnamese Grand Prix as well.

Clive Mason/Getty Images

News of the racing cancellation comes after several other sports organizations have postponed or suspended the remainder of their seasons.

Major League Baseball suspended the remainder of spring training, the National Hockey League announced that they would be pausing the 2019-2020 season and the National Basketball Association suspended their season.

The first cases of a mysterious respiratory illness — what is now known as COVID-2019, a form of coronavirus — began in Wuhan, China in late December. Since then, the virus has spread worldwide, leading the World Health Organization to declare it a pandemic.