Formula One organizers and the motorsport governing body FIA are considering the next steps after McLaren withdrew from Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix due to a team member contracting the coronavirus. Photo: Joan Monfort/AP Photo
Formula One organizers and the motorsport governing body FIA are considering the next steps after McLaren withdrew from Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix due to a team member contracting the coronavirus. Photo: Joan Monfort/AP Photo

Formula One considers action as coronavirus hits Australian GP

By Martin Moravec Time of article published Mar 12, 2020

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MELBOURNE  Formula One organizers and the motorsport governing body FIA are considering the next steps after McLaren withdrew from Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix due to a team member contracting the coronavirus.

"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," a statement said on Thursday.

"Our priority is the safety of the fans, the teams and all personnel at the race."

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) said it was "currently in discussions with F1, the FIA & the Department of Health and Human Services in relation to the broader implications of this test result."

McLaren said the team member tested positive for the coronavirus self-isolated as soon as they started to show symptoms and will now be treated by local healthcare authorities in Melbourne.

The AGPC said on Twitter that eight people had completed tests for the virus with only the McLaren staff member being positive. A ninth person, who is "not associated with any F1 team, the FIA or associated suppliers," was waiting on the outcome of a test.

McLaren team chiefs informed the governing FIA of the decision to withdraw from Sunday's race a day before practice is due to start at Albert Park.

Mercedes driver and reigning F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton had earlier questioned why the race was going ahead when so many other sporting events around the world were being cancelled or closing doors to fans.

Local organizers of the race have, until now, said the event would go ahead as planned with fans in attendance.

The Chinese Grand Prix in April has already been postponed and fans will not be allowed to attend next week's Bahrain Grand Prix.

dpa

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