Australian Grand Prix cancelled amid coronavirus fears

Sydney: The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix has been officially cancelled on Friday after a member of the McLaren Racing team was tested positive for the COVID-19, prompting the team to pull out of the event.

In an online statement, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) said that the Formula 1 had made the decision to suspend its activities at the event, which is held at Melbourne’s Albert Park, leading to the decision to cancel all together, Xinhua reported.

“In light of this decision and updated advice this morning from the Chief Health Officer of the Victorian Government’s Department of Human and Health Services, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation confirms the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix is cancelled immediately,” the statement said.

A further seven members of various racing teams were also tested for the virus and returned negative results. Additionally one other person who is not a member of any racing team has also been tested for the virus and is awaiting the result.

“Our first priority is the safety of everyone including attendees, our personnel, all event partners and members of the local community,” the AGPC said.

The championship race was scheduled for Sunday with qualifying and practice laps taking place on Friday and Saturday.

Earlier in the day Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had advised that in the interest of public health and safety, even if the event was to go ahead it would be without spectators, in order to mitigate a spread of the virus in the community.

Event organisers advised that all ticket holders would receive a full refund.