The FIA and Formula One officials announced Thursday that they are cancelling this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, the season opener of the 2020 F1 World Championship, due to Covid-19 coronavirus concerns.
The announcement comes after McLaren said it would skip the Melbourne race due to the discovery of a member of its F1 team who has tested positive for the virus. The team member already self-isolated after experiencing initial symptoms and will now be treated by local healthcare authorities.
The BBC reported on air that drivers Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, and Lewis Hamilton refused to race in the grand prix before it was cancelled by officials.
At least four other people participating in the race have been tested after showing symptoms, all of them from Haas. At the time of writing, the team is yet to provide an update on the test results of its members.
Organizers of the Bahrain Grand Prix which is scheduled for later in March have already decided to host the race without a live audience. The Chinese Grand Prix which was scheduled to April has also been postponed. Officials for the Formula E Championship have also decided to suspend the current season for the next two months.
Last week's Geneva International Motor Show was cancelled due to concerns over the outbreak, and auto shows scheduled for Beijing and New York in April have been postponed. Some automakers have also experienced production disruptions due to difficulties in sourcing parts or employees testing positive for the virus.
Update: This article has been updated following the FIA and Formula One's announcement about the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix.