McLaren has withdrawn from this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix after one of its team members contracted coronavirus.
The British team tested a member of staff for the flu-like virus on Thursday and confirmed the result had been positive. McLaren says the team member immediately entered self-isolation as soon as they showed symptoms and will now be treated by local health authorities.
The team’s statement added that it has been prepared for this eventuality and the employee will enter a period of quarantine. Fellow F1 team Haas tested four members of staff on Thursday, but all four cases came back negative.
The withdrawal will throw the status of the opening race, due to take place on March 15, in doubt. Teams are due for their first track time on Friday, when F1 weekends traditionally hold two 90-minute practice sessions.
Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton had already questioned why F1 had committed to racing in Melbourne, saying “cash is king”. F1’s opening race was due to go ahead as normal with spectators, although next weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix is set to go ahead behind closed doors.
More to follow…