McLaren won’t compete in the Melbourne Grand Prix this weekend. Picture: AP
McLaren won’t compete in the Melbourne Grand Prix this weekend. Picture: AP

Australian Grand Prix set to be called off

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix is set to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports.

A crisis meeting was held to discuss whether Sunday's race in Melbourne should go ahead between the race organisers, the FIA, teams and Formula One promoters.

Motorsport.com quoted sources saying a majority of the teams were unhappy to continue and the governing FIA would accept the decision.

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McLaren won’t compete in the Melbourne Grand Prix this weekend. Picture: AP
McLaren won’t compete in the Melbourne Grand Prix this weekend. Picture: AP

There has yet been no official confirmation from F1 or the sport's governing body the FIA.

 

The race was thrown into chaos earlier in the day when McLaren pulled out when one of its team members tested positive for the virus.

The team member was tested and isolated after showing symptoms of the virus on Wednesday.

Four Haas team members, also sent for tests after showing symptoms of the virus, have been cleared.

It is believed two other people working at the Albert Park circuit who were sent for testing in the last two days also tested negative.

F1's move follows the tide of the sporting world after a series of events were cancelled or delayed on Thursday in response to the deadly disease

In a statement, McLaren said: "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."

It said the decision to pull out of the Grand Prix was "based on a duty of care not only to McLaren F1 employees and partners, but also to the team's competitor's Formula One fans and wider F1 stakeholders."

 

 

 

 

 

It leaves just nine teams in Sunday's race.

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton raised concerns about the Melbourne Grand Prix going ahead as the coronavirus crisis grows.

With at least six F1 staff from the Albert Park circuit placed into isolation and sent for testing with symptoms of the virus, the Mercedes star was shocked that it had not been cancelled.

"I am really, really surprised that we are here," he said.

"I think it's great that we have races but for me its shocking that we are here sitting in this room.

"There are so many fans here already here today and it looks like the rest of the world is reacting, probably a little bit late."



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