Formula 1 2020: McLaren Racing withdraw from Australian GP after team member tests positive for coronavirus

McLaren Racing confirmed on Thursday evening that it was withdrawing from the 2020 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, after an unnamed team member tested positive for coronavirus.

FP Sports March 12, 2020 17:32:42 IST
Formula 1 2020: McLaren Racing withdraw from Australian GP after team member tests positive for coronavirus
  • McLaren said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown and Team Principal Andreas Seidl had informed Formula 1 and the FIA of the decision on Thursday evening.

  • The announcement comes hours after reigning champion Lewis Hamilton lashed out at F1 for persisting with the Australian GP in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The Australian Grand Prix is the first race of the 2020 Formula One season. The first practice sessions will be held at Melbourne's Albert Park are to be held on Friday.

McLaren Racing confirmed on Thursday evening that it was withdrawing from the 2020 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, after an unnamed team member tested positive for coronavirus .

Formula 1 2020 McLaren Racing withdraw from Australian GP after team member tests positive for <span class=coronavirus " width="380" height="285" />

McLaren driver Carlos Sainz waves as he poses for a photo at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Thursday. AP Photo

The Australian Grand Prix is the first race of the 2020 Formula 1 season.

According a statement issued by McLaren: “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.

“The team has 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.”

McLaren said that CEO of McLaren Racing, Zak Brown and Andreas Seidl, Team Principal of McLaren F1, informed Formula 1 and the FIA of the decision on Thursday evening, a day before the first practice session was to be held at Melbourne. 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 team said.

The announcement comes hours after reigning champion Lewis Hamilton lashed out at F1 for persisting with the Australian GP in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The six-time world champion said: “I am really very, very surprised we are here. It is great we have races but for me it is shocking that we are all sitting in this room. There are so many fans already here today.

“It seems like the rest of the world is reacting, probably a little bit late. But already this morning we’ve seen (US President Donald) Trump shutting down the borders from Europe... we’re seeing the NBA has been suspended yet Formula One continues to go on.”

Formula 1 has already taken steps in races like Bahrain GP and Chinese GP.

While the Chinese Grand Prix, originally slated for 17-19 April, has been postponed, Bahrain has taken the decision to hold this year’s Grand Prix as a participants-only event. Bahrain’s measures are a part of a wider set of proactive measures implemented by the country to limit the virus’ spread. Bahrain will also implement screening procedures on entry and specialist medical facilities onsite, as well as enhanced sanitation at the circuit, additional hand washing stations and specific medical protocols to manage any suspected cases of COVID-19 .

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