The Australian Grand Prix will be cancelled after a member of McLaren tested positive for coronavirus and the team withdrew from the race, RACER understands.
McLaren confirmed one of its team has been diagnosed with the virus on Thursday night, pulling out of the rest of the race weekend immediately “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.”
RACER understands that plans to call the race off follow a late-night meeting of team bosses in Melbourne, as well as discussions between F1, the FIA, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and the Department of Health and Human Services. The team meeting led to a vote of teams on whether or not to race that finished 5-5, including McLaren’s earlier decision to withdraw.
Official confirmation of the cancellation was expected in the early hours of the morning Melbourne time, but after no official communication was forthcoming, some teams arrived at the track at the end of the mandatory curfew. Fans also arrived at the gates, but were told their entry would be delayed.
One senior team source told RACER that if no final decision was announced before FP1 was due to start, multiple teams will not run their cars. The delay is believed to revolve around which party will take responsibility for the cancellation, with millions of dollars in race hosting fees at stake.
The confirmed case of COVID-19 is likely to mean the need for testing and isolation of anyone who came into close contact with the McLaren employee, also casting significant doubt over the likelihood of running next weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
More details to follow.