March 16, 2020 / 11:27 AM / 21 days ago

McLaren F1 employee recovering well after virus positive

LONDON (Reuters) - A McLaren Formula One employee who tested positive for the coronavirus in Australia is showing no signs of symptoms while 14 other staff in quarantine in Melbourne are doing well, the team said on Monday.

McLaren had already pulled out of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix as a result of the test before last weekend’s scheduled race was cancelled.

Formula One has postponed the next three races and is hoping to start the season in Europe at the end of May, which would mean the Dutch and Spanish Grands Prix not going ahead as planned with Monaco also uncertain.

“I’m happy to report that our team member affected with the virus is recovering well and the symptoms have gone and our people in quarantine are in good spirits,” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown.

“The support they have been getting from their team mates, our partners, members of the F1 community and fans from around the world has been fantastic and our thanks go out to all of them.”

Brown said the team had been continually “scenario-planning’ before heading to Australia and had already agreed what to do if there was a positive test in the garage.

“As a racer it was the hardest decision I’ve had to take but as CEO it was the easiest,” he added.

The McLaren employees must stay in quarantine at their Melbourne hotel for two weeks in accordance with health directives.

Team principal Andreas Seidl, who has now returned to Europe to plan the coming weeks, said racing director Andrea Stella and other staff had voluntarily stayed in Australia to support those kept behind.

The rest of the travelling race team were being kept away from the factory for 14 days.

Racing drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris were well but also being kept physically away from the rest of the team while remaining in constant communication.

Norris took part in a virtual ‘Not the Aus GP’ race on Sunday.

“It’s great to see how the entire team stuck together in these difficult hours, helping and supporting each other,” said Seidl.

“We also appreciate our fellow teams in the paddock who offered immediate help on Friday to dismantle the garage and pack the freight, which was obviously a challenge for us missing 14 of our core guys.

“This is the spirit of F1 and racing we all embrace.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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