In Review

F1 Australian GP finally cancelled after McLaren withdraw

McLaren team member tests positive for coronavirus

It was finally confirmed late on Thursday night by Formula 1 and the FIA that the opening race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, had been cancelled.

McLaren withdrew from the Melbourne event after one of their team members tested positive for coronavirus. 

In a statement the Woking-based team said: “McLaren Racing has confirmed this evening in Melbourne that it has withdrawn from the 2020 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, following the positive test of a team member for the coronavirus.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. 

“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.” 

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Confirming the cancellation of the Australian GP, a statement by F1, FIA and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation said: “Following the confirmation that a member of the McLaren Racing Team has tested positive for COVID-19 and the team’s decision to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix, Formula 1 and the FIA convened a meeting of the other nine team principals on Thursday evening.

“Those discussions concluded with a majority view of the teams that the race should not go ahead. 

“Formula 1 and the FIA, with the full support of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation [AGPC] have therefore taken the decision that all Formula 1 activity for the Australian Grand Prix are cancelled. 

“We appreciate this is very disappointing news for the thousands of fans due to attend the race and all ticket holders will receive a full refund and a further announcement will be communicated in due course. 

“All parties took into consideration the huge efforts of the AGPC, Motorsport Australia, staff and volunteers to stage the opening round of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship in Melbourne, however concluded that the safety of all members of the Formula 1 family and the wider community, as well as the fairness of the competition take priority.”

It had already been announced that next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix would be staged behind closed doors while the Chinese Grand Prix in April is postponed.

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