Fans barred from Aus GP: Vic premier
Spectators queue at the gate to gain entry ahead of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2020 at the the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, Friday, March 13, 2020. (AAP Image/Scott Barbour)
The Australian Formula One Grand Prix will be run without spectators due to the coronavirus, if it goes ahead at all this weekend, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews says.
"From a public health point of view, if the event is to be run - I will leave it to Grand Prix officials, the F1 organising body, to make an official announcement," Andrews told reporters in Sydney.
"On public health grounds, there will be no spectators at the Grand Prix this weekend - if a race actually happens at all.
"Now (organisers) are making the choice between no event or an event without fans."
Earlier, grand prix chairman Paul Little insisted the F1 season-opener in Melbourne would go ahead despite multiple reports the race will be cancelled due to the coronavirus.
The McLaren team has withdrawn from the event in Melbourne after a team member tested positive for coronavirus.
Despite widespread media reports overnight that the race won't proceed, Little told the Nine network on Friday the grand prix was going ahead.
Eight F1 team members had been tested for coronavirus with results released on Thursday revealing one, from McLaren, had tested positive to the potentially deadly virus.
McLaren subsequently withdrew from the event, due to start on Friday with practice sessions for Sunday's grand prix.
"The decision has been taken based on a duty of care not only to McLaren F1 employees and partners but also to the team's competitors, Formula 1 fans and wider F1 stakeholders," McLaren said in a statement.
"The team member was tested and self-isolated as soon as they started to show symptoms and will now be treated by local healthcare authorities.
"The team has prepared for this eventuality and has ongoing support in place for its employee who will now enter a period of quarantine."
Overnight, the BBC and Sky Television Association reported the race would be stopped after a crisis meeting between F1 hierarchy.
A number of team owners were reportedly unhappy to continue the event.
There has been no official confirmation from F1 or the sport's governing body, the FIA.
On Thursday, six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton said he found it "shocking" that the race was being staged amid a global coronavirus pandemic.
"I am really very, very surprised that we are here," the Mercedes star said.
"For me it is shocking that we are all sitting in this (press conference) room.
"It seems like the rest of the world is reacting ... Formula One continues to go on - it's definitely concerning for me."
© AAP 2020