Mexico cancelled due to swine flu

The A1GP season will conclude at Brands Hatch this weekend after the series cancelled its Mexican round due to the swine flu crisis

Mexico cancelled due to swine flu

The championship had been due to end at Mexico City on May 24, but with the outbreak of the deadly virus having originated in Mexico, A1GP chairman Tony Teixeira said the UK Foreign Office had advised against making 'non-essential' journies to the country.

"To say we are disappointed to have to make this call is an understatement," said Teixeira. "When the news of the health problems broke last week we made sure we kept ourselves up to date with the latest information.

"It soon became obvious this was not an isolated health risk, and when the UK Foreign Office put out its advisory and the World Health Organisation raised the level of influenza pandemic alert, that was when we had to make our decision. We must have the safety of all members of the A1GP community as well as the thousands of loyal fans in Mexico City as our prime concern."

Teixeira said he was concerned that as the A1GP machinery was due to fly straight to Mexico from Brands, travel restrictions could have been imposed between the cars and the team personnel arriving.

"If we had flown our cars out and not been able to send the teams to run them it would have been a waste of time and money," he said.

The Mexico cancellation means that the A1GP season will end after just seven events.

The 2008/09 championship has been beset by calendar changes from the outset, starting when the planned Mugello season-opener had to be called off after a testing crash delayed the build of the new generation A1GP car. The same issue also meant a depleted field for what turned out to be the first round at Zandvoort in October last year.

A proposed street race in Jakarta, Indonesia was called off when it became clear that the track would not be ready, and a mid-season 'tba' date briefly earmarked for an Interlagos event was also removed from the calendar.

Mexico City had originally been scheduled for mid-March, but was postponed due to a clash with a concert at the venue.

Teixeira is confident that A1GP can withstand these setbacks and that the issues will not be repeated with next year's calendar.

"This cancellation does not impact on the future of the series and once Brands Hatch is over we shall be concentrating on season five, for which plans are already well advanced," he said.

The two Brands races will now decide the destiny of the fourth A1GP title. Team Switzerland is just two points ahead of Team Ireland going into the meeting, with the Portuguese squad a further four points adrift.

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