McLaren withdraw from Australian GP

Carlos Sainz will not race at the Australian GP after virus-hit McLaren pulled out of the F1 opener

McLaren have withdrawn from the Formula One season-opening Australian Grand Prix after a team member tested positive for the coronavirus, the British team has said.

The person in question was tested and self-isolated as soon as they started to show symptoms, according to McLaren, and will now be treated by local healthcare authorities in Melbourne.

Team chiefs informed the governing FIA of the decision to withdraw from Sunday's race on Thursday, a day before practice is due to start at Albert Park.

The positive test at McLaren follows four crew members of fellow Formula One team Haas being quarantined due to the outbreak.

"The team member was tested and self-isolated as soon as they started to show symptoms and will now be treated by local healthcare authorities," McLaren said in a statement.

"The team has prepared for this eventuality and has ongoing support in place for its employee who will now enter a period of quarantine. The team is cooperating with the relevant local authorities to assist their investigations and analysis."

Mercedes driver and reigning F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton had earlier questioned why the race was going ahead when so many other sporting events around the world were being cancelled or closing doors to fans.