McLaren have pulled out of the Australian Grand Prix due to a case of COVID-19.
What should have been a celebration for the start of the new racing season, will instead be one filled with questions. Full of fear, anxiety and stress.
An unidentified member of the McLaren racing team has tested positive for the Coronavirus. Had placed himself into isolation before being taken into care in Australia. In what is a worst-case scenario for the team and the sport, the decision from McLaren is admirable and valiant.
A statement issued by Formula 1 read: “Following the outcome of the test on a member the McLaren team, Formula 1 and the FIA have been in close contact with them on their decision and have been coordinating with all the relevant authorities on the next steps. Our priority is the safety of the fans, the teams and all personnel at the race.”
What next for the Australian Grand Prix?
Just one day after the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus a pandemic, new questions arise in the world of sports. Yesterday, the Formula-E Grand Prix of Jakarta was postponed indefinitely for fear of the COVID-19 situation. As was the e-Prix of Rome the week prior.
Although a decision has yet to rule out the Australian Grand Prix, the Championship has already postponed the Chinese race. Perhaps more are to follow as well.
With Italy now largely under quarantine, the Grand Prix in Monza, scheduled for September 6th, could be in danger. The Formula One circuit that, was to feature twenty-one events in twenty-one countries this season, may well be considerably shortened.
Hopefully not. But safety is the primary concern.
The United States of America may soon follow. Outbreaks in the USA continue to rise and it is possible the nation closes its borders. Already music tours and festivals have cancelled or postponed activities.