Coronavirus: McLaren staff back in UK after Australia self-isolation

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
McLaren F1 pit lane
The Australian Grand Prix was cancelled after the McLaren staff member tested positive for the virus

The McLaren staff quarantined in Melbourne as a result of a coronavirus case at the abandoned Australian Grand Prix are all back in the UK.

Sixteen employees spent two weeks in self-isolation after one tested positive in the lead up to the race.

McLaren said: "All team personnel who were in self-isolation in Melbourne have now safely returned home."

The positive case led to the cancellation of the season-opening race at Albert Park.

A member of staff of tyre supplier Pirelli also contracted coronavirus in Melbourne but the company says he has since recovered and left Australia.

The F1 calendar has since been thrown into disarray, with the first eight races all called off and one, Monaco, cancelled altogether.

The latest event to be postponed was the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, originally scheduled for 7 June.

The organiser of the next scheduled race, the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on 14 June, said on Tuesday that a decision on that event would have to be made shortly after Easter weekend, which is 11 and 12 April.

F1 boss Chase Carey said on Monday that he hoped to be able to run a revamped schedule of 15-18 races starting at some point in the summer. The original 2020 calendar had an all-time record 22 races on it.

However, some senior team personnel are beginning to question whether it will be possible to race at all this year, given the seriousness of the pandemic around the globe.

McLaren Racing chief executive Zak Brown said: "The teams, F1 and FIA are working very closely together to do everything we can so when the world is a safe place to go racing, we can go racing, and hopefully have as much of the schedule preserved (as possible).

"There are plans in place to start up in the summertime if the world allows us to and still get in quite a bit of the racing season. Hopefully that will happen."

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