The Renault Formula 1 team has instructed that all its employees should start working from home where possible ahead of its mandatory shutdown this month.

Following the cancellation of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix - which Renault fully supported - due to an outbreak of coronavirus in the F1 paddock, the French manufacturer told all its travelling staff not to return to its Enstone or Viry-Châtillon bases for at least 14 days.

In line with the decision to bring forward the summer shutdown from August to March-April, Renault has subsequently announced it will be closing the doors to its Viry factory between Friday 20 and April 5, while its Enstone headquarters will be shut for a 21-day period from March 30.

Renault is in the unusual position of having split operations between its engine base in France and team headquarters in the UK. In line with government advice in both countries, it has told all staff that it will be mandatory to work from home from March 23.

“Our decisions must also be consistent with French and English government advice, the policy of Groupe Renault, but also that of Formula 1 authorities,” a Renault statement read.

“The first of these decisions was to support McLaren’s decision not to participate in the Australian Grand Prix following a positive test in the paddock, then to quickly repatriate our track teams present in Melbourne.

“We subsequently asked them not to not return to Enstone or Viry-Châtillon for a minimum period of 14 days.

“Working from home has been widespread for all employees able to do so at Viry-Châtillon. Following measures taken by the French Government and implemented from Monday evening in France, Renault Sport Racing’s management has also decided to close Viry-Châtillon from the evening of Friday 20 March until Sunday 5 April inclusive.

“Working at home has been progressively implemented at Enstone and will be mandatory for all employees able to do so from Monday 23 March.”

The statement concluded: “These initial measures taken at Enstone and Viry-Châtillon will be reviewed and adapted in view of the situation’s evolution.

“We will now enter into a phase of in-depth discussions with F1, the FIA and the other teams to define and put in place measures that our sport will have to take in these exceptional circumstances.

“In the face of the coming challenges, responsibility and solidarity must prevail to reduce the impact of this health crisis.”