Formula One: Australian Grand Prix cancelled as McLaren team member tested positive for COVID-19

WION Web Team
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Updated: Mar 13, 2020, 10:43 AM(IST)

Formula One. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The suspension of the curtain-raiser leaves a sense of doubt regarding the rest of the tournament. The second round of the Formula One championship is set to take place behind closed doors in Bahrain. 

The Australian Grand Prix has been called off due to the spread of the global pandemic, the novel coronavirus.  The decision was made after a McLaren team member was tested positive for the coronavirus in Melbourne. 

Also read: Season-opening Australian F1 in chaos as McLaren pulls out

By the time the FIA confirmed the news regarding the cancellation of the news, Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) and Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) had flown home. 

Also read: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus, Premier League to hold emergency meeting

The suspension of the curtain-raiser leaves doubts regarding the rest of the tournament. The second round of the Formula One championship is set to take place behind closed doors in Bahrain. 

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Confirmation of the abandonment came after Mercedes sent a letter requesting suspension of the race due to the outbreak in the pandemic. 

The letter read: "We share the disappointment of the sport's fans that this race cannot go ahead as planned. However, the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our team members and of the wider F1 community are our absolute priority.

"In light of the force majeure events we are experiencing with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, we no longer feel the safety of our employees can be guaranteed if we continue to take part in the event.

"If organisers try to press ahead with the weekend it appears at this stage as if not all the teams will take part."

Six-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton said that he was "very, very surprised" as the plan for the race was still on despite virus spreading across the globe. 

Earlier, Chinese Grand Prix was postponed due to the outbreak the new date has still not been decided yet. 

All the sporting events are going through a massive shut down due to the virus. 

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