As Formula 1 teams and paddock personnel arrived at Albert Park on Thursday morning ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, few would have predicted 24 hours later the opening round of the 2020 season would be cancelled.

But following a subdued opening day and nine people being tested for the coronavirus, the F1 rumour mill erupted once it was confirmed one unfortunate McLaren team member tested positive for COVID-19 which triggered the Woking team’s withdrawal from the race weekend.

After midnight meetings and silence from official F1 and FIA communications due to legal wrangling, just two hours before the scheduled start of FP1 the Australian GP was cancelled.

Summary of events:

- McLaren team member tests positive for coronavirus and the team subsequently withdraws from Australian Grand Prix. (10pm Thursday – all local times)

- F1 hosts team principals meeting to discuss options and votes on whether to race – ends in 5-5 tie. (1am Friday)

- Reports emerge about racing being on and then being off but both unofficial. (2am Friday)

- Organisers insist Friday schedule going ahead as normal while FIA officials refuse to comment. (8.30am Friday)

- F1 paddock opens for business as usual. (9am Friday)

- Six F1 teams turn up on time after curfew (Red Bull, AlphaTauri, Williams, Alfa Romeo, Racing Point and Haas). No sign of McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault. (9am Friday)

- Three teams want to race (Red Bull, AlphaTauri and Racing Point) but the rest oppose and begin arranging flights out of Melbourne, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen among the drivers to leave early. (9am Friday)

- Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews confirms if the race goes ahead it will not be open to spectators. (9:30am Friday)

- F1 and FIA confirm in a joint statement the 2020 Australian Grand Prix is cancelled two hours before the scheduled start of first practice. Mercedes follows up by announcing it sent a letter to F1 and the FIA to request the cancellation of the race, which Ferrari gives public support to. (10am Friday)

 

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