Formula 1 and Australian Grand Prix organisers are assessing a potential threat to the opening round of the F1 world championship in Melbourne as the effects of the country’s massive bushfires hit the city.

Australia’s bushfires, which started months ago, spiraled out of control at the end of December, devastating land, homes and wildlife mainly in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, where 25 people have died.

Unfortunately, the impact of the fires has extended well beyond the ravaged areas. Canberra is now the city with the worst air quality in the world, but the smoke haze is also lingering in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria.

Air quality in the city reached a “poor” level at the start of the week and is forecast to reach “very poor” by Thursday. Organisers of outdoor events are mulling cancellations or delays, and organisers of the upcoming Australian Open tennis tournament are closely monitoring the situation.

While the Australian Grand Prix is still two months away, The Formula One Group and the race’s promoters are tracking environmental developments and assessing any potential hazards that could threaten the season-opening March 15 event.

Formula 1 will likely set-up a series of initiatives destined to raise funds for the country’s various relief services.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo has announced that he will auction a race suit during the Melbourne Grand Prix weekend, with all proceeds going to the victims of the bushfires.

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