McLaren has announced this afternoon its withdrawal from the 2020 Australian Grand Prix, before only one day from the FP1 which is on Friday. the desicion was made after a team member tested positive for coronavirus.
The British team confirmed that following the resulting test, the team member would remain in self-isolation in the care of local health authorities, and McLaren said that the decision was made to insure the safety of everyone involved, including fans and the entire Formula 1 paddock. the team won’t be taking any part in the opening weekend of the F 1 season due to what happened.
“McLaren has confirmed today in Melbourne, that they have pulled out from the 2020 Formula 1 Australian GP, following the positive test of a team member for the coronavirus,” McLaren said in a statement.
“The team member was tested and self-isolated, after Coronavirus symptoms started to show on him, and now he will be treated by local healthcare authorities in Australia.”
“Mclaren 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 made 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.”
Speculation has grown since teams arrived in Melbourne that the race could be cancelled, four members of the Haas team were also tested for the coronavirus having shown symptoms but all returned with negative results. Three other personnel from the F1 paddock, whose affiliation is unknown, also returned negative results.
The final decision on whether the race goes ahead will be taken by the Australian authorities but there are serious questions as to whether the F1 season will have to be suspended immediately while the sport waits to see how the coronavirus situation develops internationally.
World champion Lewis Hamilton also called the decision to stage the race as “shocking” in the pre-race press conference, adding that money was the driving factor for the attempt to host the race despite the worsening situation.