The Australian Formula One Grand Prix has been cancelled.
It comes after confirmation that a McLaren team member tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
A statement issued by Formula 1, the governing body the FIA and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, said the decision came after discussions with the competing teams.
“Following the confirmation that a member of the McLaren Racing Team has tested positive for COVID-19 and the team’s decision to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix, Formula 1 and the FIA convened a meeting of the other nine team principals on Thursday evening,” the statement said. Those discussions concluded with a majority view of the teams that the race should not go ahead.
“Formula 1 and the FIA, with the full support of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) have therefore taken the decision that all Formula 1 activity for the Australian Grand Prix are cancelled.”
Those who purchased tickets for the event ” which was scheduled for Melbourne from March 12 to 15 ” will get a full refund.
“We appreciate this is very disappointing news for the thousands of fans due to attend the race and all ticket holders will receive a full refund and a further announcement will be communicated in due course,” the statement said.
It added that “the safety of all members of the Formula 1 family and the wider community, as well as the fairness of the competition take priority.”
Formula One racing team McLaren withdrew from the event as one of its team members tested positive 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,” McLaren said in a statement.
“The team has prepared for this eventuality and has ongoing support in place for its employee who will now enter a period of quarantine.”
McLaren Racing withdraws from the 2020 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. pic.twitter.com/BZvHVKQoev
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) March 12, 2020
Following the withdrawal Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters spectators it will be up to the organisers to decide whether or not the Grand Prix will go ahead, adding that spectators would not be allowed.
“On public health grounds, there will be no spectators at the Grand Prix this weekend ” if a race actually happens at all,” he sad.
In a report by the ABC, Andrews said Victorian Chief Health Minister Brett Sutton provided more advice to the Grand Prix organisers on Friday.
“He advised they have a choice to make this morning, running no event or running an event with no spectators,” Andrews said.