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Coronavirus: F1's Australian Grand Prix called off

By John Skilbeck

Melbourne, March 13: This weekend's Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled, Formula One announced on Friday (march 13).

McLaren had already pulled out of the race after a member of their crew tested positive for coronavirus while in Melbourne having shown symptoms and gone into self-isolation.

That has eventually led to Sunday's season-opening race being called off, after late-night talks between senior officials from all teams.

"Formula 1 and the FIA, with the full support of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation [AGPC], have taken the decision that all Formula 1 activity for the Australian Grand Prix is cancelled," F1 said on Twitter.

McLaren said their own withdrawal came out of "a duty of care not only to McLaren F1 employees and partners", but also "the team's competitors, Formula 1 fans and wider F1 stakeholders".

Initial reports claimed the race would go ahead as planned; however, it was later announced it had been cancelled.

Earlier in the day, world champion Lewis Hamilton questioned why racing was going ahead while the world attempts to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

First practice was due to take place on Friday, with qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.

Many sport events were called off on Thursday, including upcoming Champions League football matches in Europe that were due to involve Manchester City, Real Madrid, Juventus and Lyon.

Basketball's NBA has postponed games indefinitely and tennis' ATP Tour said it had cancelled tournaments for the next six weeks.

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Story first published: Friday, March 13, 2020, 5:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 13, 2020
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