McLaren Pulls Out Of F1 After Team Member Tests Positive For Coronavirus
McLaren Racing has pulled out of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne after one of its team members tested positive for coronavirus.
In a statement shared to Twitter on Thursday night, the team said the person was tested and self-isolated as soon as they started showing symptoms.
"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 statement said.
"The team is cooperating with the relevant local authorities to assist their investigations and analysis."
The team said the decision was 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."
Confirmation of the positive case comes hours after the Haas team confirmed more of its crew were being isolated and tested for the virus on Thursday.
It's understood four staff from Haas are currently in quarantine and awaiting test results.
Earlier, Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton warned that positive tests at Albert Park could stop the race from being held.
"If (the tests) turn up positive, we need to consider what it means for their close contacts and if they have a number of close contacts across a number of crews, then those individuals need to be quarantined," Sutton told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Thursday.
"If that effectively shuts down the race, then so be it. We'll make that call."
It comes as six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton said it was "shocking" the season-opening Australian Grand Prix was still being held amid coronavirus fears.
"I am really very surprised that we are here. For me it is shocking that we are all sitting in this room (press conference)," he said.
The 2020 Formula One World Championship will air on Network 10 from Friday, March 13 on 10 Bold.