McLaren Pulls Out of Australian Grand Prix After Coronavirus Strikes Down Team Member
The Coronavirus has struck at least one McLaren team member forcing boss, Zak Brown, to declare the team’s withdrawal from the 2020 Australian Grand Prix. The unnamed employee tested positive for Covid-19 and is currently in self-isolation. Treatment is being supplied by the local health authority and McLaren is fully co-operating. The team subsequently decided to withdraw from the inaugural Grand Prix on safety grounds in a bid to halt a potential person to person transmission.
In a statement McLaren explained:
“The team has prepared for this eventuality and has ongoing support in place for its employees 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.”
Nevertheless, the 2020 Australian Grand Prix is scheduled to go ahead as planned. However, F1 drivers have expressed concern. Lewis Hamiton said he was “surprised and shocked” at the FIA’s decision not to cancel the event considering Covid-19 has gone pandemic.
Sebastian Vettel hinted that the drivers could en-masse decide to stage a walk out of the event, while Kimi Raikkonen expressed that it is “probably not good” to stage the event given the current circumstances.