The season opening Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled just hours before free practise one was set to begin.
The news is not unexpected, McLaren withdrew from the event earlier today following one of their team members testing positive for the coronavirus.
The teams held crisis meetings overnight in Australia with a decision reached to call off the weekend’s events.
Formula 1, the FIA and the Australian Grand Prix corporation released the following statement:
“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. 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.”
The Formula 1 website added : “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.
All parties took into consideration the huge efforts of the AGPC, Motorsport Australia, staff and volunteers to stage the opening round of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship in Melbourne, however concluded 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.”
It is not yet known of the Bahrain Grand Prix will take place next weekend.