McLaren has confirmed that its team member who tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus is recovering well and now free from its symptoms.
One member of its race team self-isolated on Wednesday in Melbourne and on Thursday evening tested positive for the virus, prompting the squad to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix.
On Friday morning the entire event was cancelled while Formula 1 subsequently postponed upcoming grands prix in Bahrain and Vietnam.
McLaren later confirmed that another 14 members of the team had self-isolated as a precaution.
“I’m proud of how the whole team, both in Australia and back at base, handled the situation in a moment of real pressure and concern for their colleagues,” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown.
“The focus, calmness and professionalism was outstanding across the team. We had leaders stepping up everywhere and that is testament to our people.
“We had been continually scenario-planning together with the team back in the UK, so we knew what our options were in the event of various outcomes.
“Andreas [Seidl] and I already agreed that if we had a positive case in the garage there was only one option. As I said before, as a racer it was the hardest decision I’ve had to take but as CEO it was the easiest. Our people come first and Andreas feels very strongly about this too.
“When the news came through on Thursday evening Andreas and I were at dinner with one of our shareholders.
“We immediately returned to the team hotel to join our race team leadership and while Andreas focused on leading the team, I focused on our board and shareholders, who were absolutely supportive I must say, while informing the other teams, F1 and the FIA.
“I’m happy to report that our team member affected with the virus is recovering well and the symptoms have gone and our people in quarantine are in good spirits.
“The support they have been getting from their team-mates, our partners, members of the F1 community and fans from around the world has been fantastic and our thanks go out to all of them.”
Team Principal Seidl stayed out with McLaren in Melbourne until flying back to Europe on Saturday evening while Racing Director Andrea Stella was among those who offered to remain in the city with the quarantined team members.
McLaren also expressed its gratitude to rival Formula 1 teams for their assistance with the pack-down process at Albert Park.
Seidl confirmed that other teams “offered immediate help on Friday to dismantle the garage and pack the freight, which was obviously a challenge for us missing 14 of our core guys. This is the spirit of F1 and racing we all embrace.”
The members of McLaren’s race team that were able to fly back to the UK over the weekend are staying away from its Technology Centre for the next two weeks as a precaution.