Quarantined McLaren staff due home this week

Formula 1
McLaren F1 pit lane

The McLaren staff quarantined in Melbourne as a result of a coronavirus case at the abandoned Australian Grand Prix are due to arrive home this week.

Sixteen team members spent two weeks in self-isolation after one McLaren employee tested positive for coronavirus in the lead up to the race.

The infected individual is already back in the UK, after being declared symptom-free last week.

The other team members have now been given the all-clear to return.

Because of the complications of arranging international travel as increasing numbers of countries go into lockdown, they are on a variety of different flights back to the UK.

The positive case at McLaren led to the cancellation of the race in Melbourne, which was due to kick off the Formula 1 season on 13-15 March.

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 Canadian event in Montreal, which has a date of 14 June, is expected to follow soon.

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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