Statements from Formula 1 and the promoters in Melbourne say they are currently discussing the next steps after a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Following on from the news that McLaren have opted to withdraw from this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix with a confirmed case of the coronavirus within their staff, Formula 1 has issued a short statement.
“Following the outcome of the test on a member the McLaren team, F1 and FIA have been in close contact with them on their decision and have been coordinating with all relevant authorities on next steps.” said the statement. “Our priority is the safety of the fans, teams and all personnel at the race.”
The promoter, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, also issued a short statement, saying: “The AGPC is currently in discussions with Formula 1, the FIA and the Department of Health and Human Services in relation to the broader implications of this test result.”
CEO Andrew Westacott said: “The Australian Grand Prix Corporation and Formula 1 have been advised by the Victorian Chief Health Officer of the results of tests relating to eight personnel from the Formula 1 Paddock. Of these eight tests, seven individuals have returned a negative result confirming that they do not have the COVID-19 virus.”
“An eighth individual has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. It has been confirmed that the individual was a member of the McLaren Racing Team. As a result of this, McLaren has announced its withdrawal from the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2020.”
“The AGPC is currently in discussions with Formula 1, the FIA and the Department of Health and Human Services in relation to the broader implications of this test result.”
“Additionally, a ninth individual has been assessed and tested for the COVID-19 virus, with the results of this test pending. This individual is not associated with any Formula 1 team, the FIA or associated suppliers.”
“The AGPC will provide updates as further details become available.”
FormulaSpy understands an emergency meeting is scheduled for early on Friday morning in Melbourne (it’s just after midnight local time at time of publishing), with a decision expected to be reached on whether the rest of the weekend should take place.
Two weeks ago, Formula 1’s Ross Brawn said racing wouldn’t go ahead without ‘all teams present’ but this isn’t the case here as McLaren have made it to the race successfully and are pulling out.
However, the decision might not be Formula 1’s to make. On Thursday, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said they could end up making the call to call off the race should a positive case of COVID-19 be identified. With that exact scenario playing out now, it remains to be seen what decisions are made by F1 and the race promoters in the coming hours.
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