After discovering a team member with Coronavirus, McLaren announced that they would be withdrawing from the Australian Grand Prix just a day the race launches the new 2020 Formula 1 season.
There were five team personnel tested with four employees at Haas who were tested and cleared of the virus. There is mounting pressure on teams, drivers and Formula 1 over their bullish approach to continuing despite other sporting events being canceled or postponed.
Lewis Hamilton said:
“I am very, very surprised that we are here,” said Hamilton, when asked by Autosport if he was comfortable with being at the grand prix.
“I think it’s great that we have races, but for me it’s shocking that we’re all sitting in this room.”
“Cash is king, but honestly I don’t know. I can’t really add much.”
McLaren pulling out of the first race is a very big deal and one that could have a ripple effect if teams or personnel feel compromised.
McLaren Racing has confirmed this evening in Melbourne that it has withdrawn from the 2020 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, following the positive test of a team member for the coronavirus.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.