McLaren has withdrawn from the Australian Grand Prix, announcing a positive result to coronavirus tests for one of its team members.
A statement from the team confirmed:
McLaren Racing has confirmed this evening in Melbourne that it has withdrawn from then 2020 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix following the positive test of a team member for the coronavirus.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.
Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, and Andreas Seidl, Team Principal of McLaren F1, informed Formula 1 and the FIA of the decision this evening. 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.
Three Formula 1 team personnel went into self-isolation after displaying symptoms consistent with coronavirus, one from McLaren and two from Haas.
Unconfirmed reports claim the two Haas team members have returned negative tests, as have two further team members who underwent tests on Thursday.
A photographer left the circuit midway through Thursday’s proceedings to enter self-isolation.
Pressure has been mounting on organisers to make a call over the event as the global pandemic escalates.
Following McLaren’s announcement, Formula 1 issued its own brief statement.
“Following the outcome of the test on a member the McLaren team, Formula 1 and the FIA have been in close contact with them on their decision and have been coordinating with all the relevant authorities on the next steps,” it said.
“Our priority is the safety of the fans, the teams and all personnel at the race.”
Supercars confirmed to Speedcafe.com that reports a team member from the category was awaiting results of a coronavirus test were incorrect.
The opening practice session of the season is scheduled for noon on Friday.