McLaren Racing has confirmed on Thursday evening in Melbourne that it has withdrawn from the 2020 Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix, following the positive test of a team member for the coronavirus.
The team member was tested and self-isolated as soon as they started to show symptoms and will now be treated by local healthcare authorities.
In the statement issued by the team, McLaren said it had “prepared for this eventuality and has ongoing support in place for its employee who will now enter a period of quarantine.
“The team is cooperating with the relevant local authorities to assist their investigations and analysis.
“Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing and Andreas Seidl, team principal of McLaren F1, informed F1 and the FIA of the decision this evening.
“The decision has been taken based on a duty of care not only to McLaren F1 employees and partners, but also to the team’s competitors, Formula 1 fans and wider F1 stakeholders.”
The decision likely means the Australian Grand Prix will either be cancelled or run as a non-championship event following comments by F1’s Ross Brawn, who recently stated that a race can’t be run if a team is unable to participate due to the coronavirus.
Four members of the Haas F1 Team were also tested for the virus after showing mild symptoms, but all four have come back negative.
In response to the decision by McLaren to withdraw, F1 released the following short statement: “Formula 1 and the FIA have have been coordinating with all the relevant authorities on the next steps. Our priority is the safety of the fans, the teams and all personnel at the race.”
This is a breaking news story, more details to follow as this story develops…