Ricciardo wary as three self-isolate at GP

Jason Phelan
Renault F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo has pulled out of a media conference over coronavirus fears

Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo has pulled out of a scheduled Renault team media conference over fears he might be exposed to the coronavirus, while three other team members have been placed in self-isolation just days out from the Australian Grand Prix.

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But they were withdrawn by team officials at the last minute.

"It is a very particular circumstance in which we are joining Australia and Melbourne," team principal Cyril Abiteboul said.

"Usually it's a moment that we all love when we are racing in Formula 1.

"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."

Elsewhere, a member of McLaren's Formula One team, as well as two personnel from the US outfit Haas, are in self-isolation after being tested for the virus in Melbourne.

This year's race has been under a cloud since the onset of the virus, which has caused major sporting events around the world to be cancelled, postponed or contested without spectators present.

A key point of concern for organisers has been the presence of Italian teams Ferrari and the newly rebranded AlphaTauri team, formerly Toro Rosso, as well as tyre supplier Pirelli.

Members of all three organisations had their temperatures taken upon arrival in Melbourne and key F1 officials have said a race for championship points will not go ahead without them.

Italy is in lockdown as the country attempts to limit the spread of the virus, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday announcing travel restrictions that would have precluded them from taking part in the Australian Grand Prix.

Next week's race in Bahrain will take place behind closed doors, while the Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for April 19 has been postponed.