Well, that escalated quickly… the speed that the COVID-19 coronavirus is circling the globe is astonishing, and it’s claimed a pretty big scalp in the form of the Australian Grand Prix.
And the way the cancellation of the event itself played out was, in my opinion, pretty damn poor.
Between 8.00am and 12.00pm, I must have updated our rolling news story 20 times, as information and misinformation tripped over each other, while hapless ticket holders, race teams and up to 12,000 part-time workers at the event wondered what the hell was going on.
Eventually, the news filtered down that the race was off, followed not long afterwards by news that more team members had been isolated and quarantined.
There’s no doubt that F1 has given itself a fair old black eye over its handling of this whole sorry mess. It doesn’t matter which side of the coronavirus line you’re standing on… the fact remains that if a decisive call had been made early in the week, then planeloads of people wouldn’t have flown 12,000km to the other side of the world, exacerbating the risk of catching this very nasty bug not just for themselves, but for everyone they encounter on their journey.
And why oh why did AGP organisers to send a text out to everyone to go to Albert Park, then not open the gates to the venue? Why did the governing bodies of the sport not call the event off even 12 hours earlier? What an absolute farce… our best wishes and commiserations to everyone touched by this crazy episode. It’s a Friday 13th for the ages, that’s for sure.
Elsewhere across our network, it’s been business as usual across our brands. We covered the new Chevrolet Silverado 1500, theorised whether petrol would drop below a dollar a litre, examined a potential lifeline for Holden workers and checked out Ford’s new baby ute.
Elsewhere, Tesla showed off its one millionth car (below) while BMW confirms it will kill its hybrid i8, we learned how much Ford’s new baby UV, the Puma, will cost and rolled out lots of great advice as well.
WhichCar TV should be back on the box this Sunday at 3.30pm on Channel Ten because there’s no Grand Prix on telly any more - and on Prime in New Zealand too - and our reams of social media feeds are pumping out all the good gear 24/7.
Now that we’ve all got our weekends back, make sure you all have a great one.