Last Friday was without a doubt the weirdest time I’ve had at a race track. To turn up, to be suited up, to have the team with our cars out ready to qualify – and then told the meeting was canceled was just the most bizarre experience we’ve all lived through.
Everyone stood around unsure how to act, or how to feel. I was just sad. I love the event. I love the track. I love what a cool weekend it is in Melbourne. I love being in the same lane as Formula One. I was excited to watch them race. I mean, I was excited to race. And now it was done. Just like that.
I felt sorry for all of the people who had worked on putting Albert Park’s GP on – I mean just building the circuit is a logistical nightmare – and then they were moving in to start tearing it down before our transporter had even left.
Friday afternoon we were supposed to be racing, and I was back at the hotel twiddling my thumbs. What a bizarre day it was. Just weird.
I’ll be honest, my wife Karly flew in that day from Brisbane and we went and had a boozy afternoon at Southbank by the Yarra. It seemed the right thing to do!
I was really bummed because after Thursday’s on-track action, we’d worked late into the night to make improvements to the Mustang. I was so looking forward to what it would have meant on track for qualifying on Friday morning, and the opening race that afternoon.
We weren’t terrible in qualifying for race three and four of the season (4th behind SVG in qualifying one, 5th behind JW in qualifying two) but I was super confident with the changes we had made, we would have improved in qualifying that day, and then been right on the pace in the race.
We’ll never know now, but I have a feeling they would have been cracking races taking it up to the Red Bulls! Which is maybe why I was extra bummed with how it all played out.
There was no winner with the way it all played out. Plenty of people have asked why it was handled so badly, but in Formula One there are so many stakeholders to be consulted – it takes time and it was playing out from Thursday night when McLaren withdrew from the event through until Friday morning’s cancellation.
I felt so bad for the fans who had arrived early to the track that morning. But this Coronavirus crisis is the biggest thing around the world – it just didn’t feel right to be racing that weekend – especially when we’d had a positive test in the Formula One pitlane. So I feel like, in the end, the right decision was reached to cancel the event.
Which leads to what’s going around the world, especially for me in America. There’s so much speculation right now with the IndyCar schedule. But that’s all it is, speculation.
As I write this now, I know there’s a fair degree of doubt on the Indy Grand Prix taking place at Indianapolis in early May – but let’s just wait and see. There are way more important issues right now than racing cars, and while I’m disappointed at how this is potentially playing out, I’m not losing sight of the big picture.
And that leaves where the Supercar season currently stands. There’s obviously a fair amount of water to go under the bridge before the next meeting in Tasmania (and for New Zealand as well after that), so let’s just wait and see how things play out. The beauty of the Supercars schedule is that there are large gaps should we need to make up rounds in the second half of the season – and I’m confident the people who run the show will make the right calls.
So while we wait, the only good news – the #17 still leads the championship!