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McLaren pulls out of Australian Grand Prix

McLaren have announced their withdrawal from the 2020 Australian Grand Prix after a team member tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Following from the news on Wednesday that one of their team members was quarantined under suspicion of having the virus, McLaren have now confirmed that the person tested positive and as a result, have withdrawn from the first race of the 2020 Formula 1 season.

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Announcing their withdrawal in a statement released at 10:22 PM local time, the team cited their “duty of care” to their own personnel as well as the entire paddock for their decision.

The statement, in full, reads as follows:

“McLaren Racing has confirmed this evening in Melbourne that is has withdrawn from the 2020 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, following the positive test of a team member for the coronavirus.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 authorites 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.”

Earlier on Thursday, Victoria state Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton had indicated his government would consider cancelling the event should a team member return a positive test, a reality which seems likely now.

In some more positive news, the four Haas team members who were also being tested for COVID-19 have all been cleared of the virus.

Report in progress…