McLaren have officially withdrawn from the Australian Grand Prix after a member of their team tested positive for the coronavirus.
The news broke in Australia where teams have been nervously awaiting the results of tests conducted on no less than five members of various teams on the Formula 1 circuit.
Sebastian Vettel had only hours earlier threatened that drivers would 'pull the handbrake' on the race should the situation continue to worsen and, with the British giants becoming the first casualty of the year, that decision might be one that needs to be made.
World Champion Lewis Hamilton had also expressed his shock that the race was being allowed to go ahead in the face of stern protests from the Melbourne locals who were desperate to have the event cancelled.
Now, authorities will be scrambling to ensure the safety of the fans and crew members after McLaren's decision to not participate in race weekend.
With the situation rapidly escalating, you simply can't see a scenario in which the race can take place safely, and you would expect authorities to call the whole circus off should it continue along this path.
However, with the Chinese Grand Prix already being postponed and the Vietnamese race looking ever more unlikely, the FIA will do everything in their reasonable power to ensure the Australian show-piece goes ahead.
Whether that is wise or not, is another question entirely but, we can only hope authorities will be keeping a close eye on the situation in the paddock and in the stands.
More to follow.
- The 2020 Bahrain GP to be 'participant only'
- FIA break silence over Ferrari engine settlement
- Webber: Hamilton is 'more complete' than Schumacher