The McLaren Racing team member was tested and self-isolated after showing symptoms, prompting the team to withdraw from the F1 Australian GP scheduled for this weekend.
Woking-based Formula 1 team Mclaren Racing has announced that it will be withdrawing from the 2020 Australian Grand Prix after a team member was tested positive for the Coronavirus. The outbreak has affected all sporting activities globally, not to mention businesses, schools, public events and more. The announcement comes just days before the 2020 F1 season opener is set to take place at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne. In a statement, McLaren said that 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The statement from McLaren read, “McLaren Racing has confirmed this evening in Melbourne that it has withdrawn from the 2020 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, following the positive test of a team member for the coronavirus.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. 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.”
All 10 Formula 1 teams arrived in Melbourne this week for the first round of the new season. The statement from McLaren further read that its drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris will not be participating in the event. Amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, drivers have also called for complete cancellation of the event until the situation stabilises globally.
Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton was the most vocal about this. At the official F1 press conference earlier today, the Mercedes driver showed his displeasure and said, “I am very, very surprised we are here. It’s great we have races but it’s shocking we are sitting in this room.”
Furthermore, Hamilton expressed concerns about the fans attending the season-opening race and the organisers continuing with the event despite other global sporting events being called off. It’s not just McLaren’s team member that’s been tested positive for Coronavirus, it’s reported that four members of Haas too were tested positive and have been placed under quarantine. The test results for the five members will be announced by this weekend.
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) March 12, 2020
With the World Health Organisation announcing the Coronavirus as a pandemic, speculations are rife that the Australian GP could be cancelled altogether.
A follow-up tweet from F1 read, “Formula 1 and the FIA 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.”
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.
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 12, 2020
While uncertainty looms over the 2020 Australian GP, the Chinese GP has already been postponed that was set to take place in April, while the Vietnamese GP remains uncertain due to the country’s own travel restrictions. Meanwhile, Bahrain has announced that the race will take place as scheduled later this month, albeit without any spectators.
Not just F1 but other motorsport events too have been or will be cancelled. This includes the Premier Class race for the MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix, while the Thailand GP has been postponed to October. In Formula E, the Sanya e-Prix has been cancelled and the Jakarta e-Prix, as well as the Rome e-Prix, have been postponed. The races in Paris and Seoul also look uncertain owing to the outbreak.