Australian GP called off due to coronavirus fears

Fri 13 Mar 2020 06:57 GMT | 10:57 Local Time

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Formula One has called off Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, the opening race of its 2020 season, after a McLaren team member tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday evening.

McLaren confirmed a member of its team had entered quarantine after contracting the virus, leaving the British team no option but to pull out of the event. Fellow F1 team Haas had four team members tested, although each came back negative and a total of eight people from the paddock received negative outcomes from tests.

The Melbourne race was supposed to be the opening event of the 2020 season. At the start of the week race chiefs insisted it was going ahead as usual, fully open to spectators, although precautionary measures were being taken.

The Bahrain Grand Prix is set to take place on March 22 behind closed doors, but it remains to be seen whether the status of that race changes. McLaren has yet to confirm whether it will travel to the race.

The Chinese Grand Prix, which was set to take place on April 19, was postponed last month at the request of the race organisers. F1 is still hoping to reschedule the Shanghai event in the second half of the year.

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