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F1 opener in Australia postponed in wake of McLaren withdrawing
By Philip Duncan, PA F1 Correspondent, Melbourne
PA Media: SportMarch 12, 2020, 12:23 PM EDT


Formula One’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix has been postponed in the wake of British team McLaren withdrawing from the event after a team member tested positive for coronavirus, the PA news agency understands.
The decision was taken following a crisis two-hour summit involving F1’s under-fire hierarchy, its governing body, the FIA, and a number of the sport’s team principals here in Melbourne.
F1’s move follows the tide of the sporting world after a series of events were cancelled or delayed on Thursday in response to the deadly disease which has claimed more than 4,600 lives.

Lewis Hamilton had earlier heaped pressure on the sport’s bosses by claiming they were putting lives at danger with 300,000 fans expected through the gates of Albert Park over the next few days.

A British mechanic was told he had tested positive for the coronavirus at 9pm. A little more than an hour later, his McLaren team informed F1 and the FIA that they were pulling the plug on their participation here this weekend.

The individual remains in quarantine at the team’s hotel in Melbourne. It is understood that at least a dozen other McLaren staff are in self-isolation after coming into contact with the individual who arrived from England earlier this week. They are showing no symptoms related to the disease.

In all, nine people connected with the sport – none of whom are from Hamilton’s Mercedes team – have been tested for the virus, seven of which have been negative, one positive, and one still awaiting their results.

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