McLaren and Haas team members quarantined at Australian Grand Prix

Melbourne 3000

Two members of the Haas Formula One team and one from McLaren are in quarantine as a precaution amid coronavirus fears ahead of Sunday’s season-opening race in Melbourne.

Key points:

  • Renault pulled both Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon from the team’s livery unveiling due to concerns about coronavirus
  • Team members from McLaren and Haas are awaiting results of tests for coronavirus
  • Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said at this stage the F1 season-opener will go ahead as planned

“Two members of the team have been quarantined and remain in their hotel room. They displayed symptoms of a cold,” a spokesperson for Haas told Reuters.

McLaren said one team member had self-isolated in the hotel as a precaution.

“We expect to receive the results overnight. The team is operating as per our normal schedule,” McLaren said.

Australian Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo was pulled out of a scheduled Renault team media conference over fears he might be exposed to the coronavirus.


Australian star Daniel Ricciardo was pulled from a media event at the Australian Grand Prix. (AAP: Julian Smith)

Ricciardo and teammate Esteban Ocon were due to take questions from reporters after they unveiled Renault’s new livery for the 2020 season at the Albert Park circuit on Wednesday, but were withdrawn by team officials at the last minute.

“Our drivers were supposed to be with us for this event but due to the situation we’ve excused them for the occasion … I hope you understand why we are taking such measures,” team principal Cyril Abiteboul said.

There had earlier been concerns about whether Ferrari would take their place on the grid at the Australian Grand Prix, due to fears about team members being exposed to the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy.

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he was following advice from the state’s chief health officer in allowing the Grand Prix to go ahead in Melbourne this weekend.

“It is about proportionate responses. The advice is that it is not proportionate to cancel that event, or any other event at this stage,” Mr Andrews told ABC Radio Melbourne.

The government is not currently aware of any confirmed cases, or their close contacts, linked to the Grand Prix and a government spokesperson said the public would be “informed about new confirmed cases”.

The current advice from the chief health officer is that mass gathering events like the Grand Prix, the Melbourne Fashion Festival and AFL football can continue.

Australian Grand Prix chief Andrew Westacott said organisers are aware of the situation and were taking “prudent sensible measures”, including having more hand sanitisers and four warm water hand-washing stations around the venue.

“The Australian Grand Prix Corporation has been informed of three Formula One team personnel presenting for precautionary testing and who are now all undergoing precautionary self-isolation,” Mr Westacott said.

“The AGPC is monitoring the situation in conjunction with Formula One and the FIA.”

More than 300,000 fans attended race week at Albert Park last year, according to organisers’ estimates.

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