A team member of F1 tyre supplier Pirelli has tested positive for coronavirus after traveling to Melbourne for the now-cancelled Australian Grand Prix, the Italian company has confirmed.
It is the second case of coronavirus in the F1 paddock – a McLaren team member contracted coronavirus last Thursday, prompting the British team to withdraw from the season opener. The following day F1 and the race organisers confirmed the March 15 event had been called off.
Pirelli said the person is “following all the relevant procedures put in place by the health authorities”.
They had “not had any contact with third parties that required anyone else to take special preventative measures”.
The team member is following the health advice of the local authority. The news came the same day McLaren released an update on its own team member, who is “recovering well” and is now free of symptoms.
Pirelli is F1’s sole tyre manufacturer and brings a team of engineers to every grand prix weekend. MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images
The start date of the F1 season remains in doubt. The three races after Australia — Bahrain, Vietnam and China — have all been postponed, while the Netherlands-Spain double header at the start of May seems unlikely to go ahead. The Monaco Grand Prix is also doubtful.
F1 is targeting a start date of late May/early June for its new season, with Baku’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix the most likely season opener. F1 managing director Ross Brawn said the series still hopes to have 17 or 18 races this year, but that is largely dependent on start date and how many European races can be held in June and July.