This weekend's Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled, Formula One announced on Friday.

McLaren had already pulled out of the race after a member of their crew tested positive for coronavirus while in Melbourne having shown symptoms and gone into self-isolation.

That has eventually led to Sunday’s season-opening race being called off, after late-night talks between senior officials from all teams.

"Formula 1 and the FIA, with the full support of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC), have taken the decision that all Formula 1 activity for the Australian Grand Prix is cancelled," F1 said on Twitter.

McLaren said their own withdrawal came out of "a duty of care not only to McLaren F1 employees and partners" as well as "the team's competitors, Formula 1 fans and wider F1 stakeholders".

Initial reports claimed the race would go ahead as planned; however, it was later announced the race had been cancelled.

Earlier in the day, world champion Lewis Hamilton questioned why racing was going ahead while the world attempts to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

First practice was due to take place on Friday, with qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.

Many sport events were called off on Thursday, including upcoming Champions League football matches in Europe that were due to involve Manchester City, Real Madrid, Juventus and Lyon.

Basketball's NBA has postponed games indefinitely and tennis' ATP Tour said it had cancelled tournaments for the next six weeks.

A member of the McLaren Formula One team at the Australian Grand Prix is in self-isolation after "showing symptoms similar to coronavirus".

The season-opening race in Melbourne on Sunday is currently due to go ahead as originally planned, with spectators present.

However, race officials said on Wednesday they are "monitoring the situation", announcing there are three team personnel in total currently self-isolating.

A McLaren spokesperson said: "We can confirm that one team member has self-isolated in the hotel as a precaution, in line with our policy, after showing symptoms similar to coronavirus.

"We are awaiting test results and currently do not have a definitive timeframe for these. The team is operating as per our normal schedule."

According to widespread reports, two members of the Haas team are also self-isolating.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott said: "The Australian Grand Prix Corporation has been informed of three Formula 1 team personnel presenting for precautionary testing and who are now all undergoing precautionary self-isolation.

"The AGPC is monitoring the situation in conjunction with Formula 1 and [motorsport's world governing body] the FIA."

The news comes at a time when a host of major sporting events around the world are being cancelled, postponed or contested behind closed doors.

Next week's Bahrain Grand Prix will be staged without spectators owing to coronavirus concerns.

Formula One's Bahrain Grand Prix will be raced behind closed doors because of concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

Track officials said it "would not be the right thing to do" to allow spectators from around the world to gather for the March 22 race.

Next week's season-opening Australian Grand Prix is due to go ahead without such restrictions.

The Bahrain International Circuit issued a statement that made its stance on the issue starkly clear, stressing it has taken the responsible choice.

The statement read: "In consultation with our international partners and the Kingdom's national health taskforce, Bahrain has made the decision to hold this year's Bahrain Grand Prix as a participants-only event.

"As an F1 host nation, balancing the welfare of supporters and race goers is a tremendous responsibility. Given the continued spread of Covid-19 globally, convening a major sporting event, which is open to the public and allows thousands of international travellers and local fans to interact in close proximity would not be the right thing to do at the present time.

"But to ensure that neither the sport, nor its global supporter base, is unduly impacted, the race weekend itself will still go ahead as a televised event.

"Bahrain's own early actions to prevent, identify and isolate cases of individuals with Covid-19 has been extremely successful to date. The approach has involved rapid, proactive measures, identifying those affected by the virus, of which the overwhelming majority of cases relate to those travelling into the country by air.

"Aggressive social distancing measures have further increased the effectiveness of preventing the virus' spread, something that would clearly be near impossible to maintain were the race to have proceeded as originally planned.

"We know how disappointed many will be by this news, especially for those planning to travel to the event, which has become a cornerstone event of the international F1 calendar, but safety has to remain our utmost priority."

Mercedes' radical 'dual axis steering' system looks set to be banned from Formula One in the 2021 season.

The constructors' champions introduced the new technology - also known by his acronym 'DAS' - at this week's testing session in Barcelona.

Discussions over its eye-catching appearance and effect are set to continue into the 2020 campaign, with Mercedes looking to have developed a new tool to push the team even further forward at least in the short term.

World champion Lewis Hamilton was shown on his car's on-board camera to be adjusting his steering column in practice, pulling it towards him and pushing it away.

That was said to result in small changes to the toe angle of the wheels - their alignment when the steering is set straight - and Mercedes technical director James Allison has said DAS offers drivers "an extra dimension of control".

However, amid a slew of changes to Formula One's rules that will come into effect next year, there are defined restrictions on steering mechanisms.

The 2021 rules state: "The re-alignment of the steered wheels, as defined by the position of the inboard attachment of the relevant suspensions members that remain a fixed distance from each other, must be uniquely defined by a monotonic function of the rotational position of a single steering wheel."

The BBC reported on Friday that Michael Masi, race director of governing body the FIA, confirmed the rule amendment would affect DAS.

Masi is quoted as saying on the BBC Sport website: "We will see what teams can come up with within those boundaries of what the regulations are written for in 2021

World champion Lewis Hamilton showed ominous speed in his Mercedes on day one of testing for the new Formula One season in Barcelona.

The British driver led a Mercedes one-two on the time sheets as Valtteri Bottas was second quickest, while Ferrari's plans were hindered when Sebastian Vettel pulled out of the session through illness.

Hamilton came to Barcelona from Berlin, after being voted a world sportsman of the year at the Laureus Awards, and the six-time F1 drivers' championship winner was swiftly up to pace in the new W11 model.

He clocked a fastest lap of one minute and 16.976 seconds, which put him 0.377secs clear of Bottas and 0.399s ahead of Racing Point's Sergio Perez.

Another title this season would see 35-year-old Hamilton match German great Michael Schumacher's record haul of seven triumphs.

Charles Leclerc was down in 11th place for Ferrari but put in 131 laps in the new SF1000 car as the Monegasque driver went it alone for the Italian team, with Vettel sidelined.

Hamilton completed 94 laps in the afternoon, with Bottas notching up 79 in the morning, but their combined total of 173 laps for Mercedes was almost passed single-handedly by Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who achieved 168 circuits.

Verstappen span off the track twice during the afternoon. Alex Albon will take the wheel of the Red Bull on Thursday.

"It's been a good day and a really good start for all of us, considering we had a long break," said Hamilton. "So to come back and clock in over 170 laps just shows how hard everyone has been working over the winter.

"We will just take it one step at a time, getting good feedback from the car. We have a lot of data to download and analyse and we’ve got to keep pushing on."

The first race of the 2020 season takes place in Melbourne, with the Australian Grand Prix scheduled for March 15.

Lewis Hamilton feels in great shape to launch his bid for a record-equalling seventh Formula One world title and says he has rekindled his close relationship with dad Anthony.

Ahead of the new season starting in Australia next month, Hamilton has been training hard to ensure he is among the fittest drivers on the grid.

He is one short of Michael Schumacher's record haul of championship triumphs after winning five of the last six drivers' titles.

Hamilton posted pictures on Instagram of himself training in Singapore on Thursday, and the 35-year-old said he was closing in on the physique that will ensure he starts the campaign at a physical peak.

"This has been one of the best winters I've had training," Hamilton wrote.

"Last year I arrived into testing with a lot of water weight and around 78kg. This year, I'm at a better weight of 73kg. Still have more fat to burn off and more muscle to add but on the way. Consistency is key! If you are wanting to get in shape, you can do it. Just depends how much you want it. Let’s go guys."

Hamilton has found time to rebuild a family bond too, since wrapping up the 2019 championship, saying spending time with his father has highlighted how both men became "so immersed in the drive to succeed that we lost sight of what was most important, our relationship".

Anthony Hamilton was a key figure in his son's career, but their close connection began to show cracks early in Lewis' Formula One career.

Lewis Hamilton employed his father as his manager until that working relationship fractured in 2010, with the new star of world motor racing deciding he needed a change.

There have been fond reconciliations since, and now Hamilton is determined to re-establish the powerful father-son dynamic that helped him scale the heights of his sport.

"Our journey hasn't been an easy one, we've faced so many obstacles as individuals but also as a family," the Mercedes star wrote.

"My dad and I haven't had the easiest of relationships. He worked so hard to create an opportunity for us as a family and because of him I am where I am today.

"In the search for success, with all the pressure it put on us all, we were so immersed in the drive to succeed that we lost sight of what was most important, our relationship.

"Over time, we lost that father son bond and it has been something we have both wanted back for so long.

"The past couple years we've been growing closer and this winter break I asked my dad to come visit me so we could spend some time together, just us.

"We hadn't done this before so to finally get to spend quality time with him has brought me so much happiness. I just wanted to share this with you.

"Family is the most important thing in the world. You can’t choose your family but you can make it work with them no matter your differences, they are the ones that will be there when you have nothing. Sending everyone positivity and love."

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has highlighted how Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel need carefully managing after admitting early meetings with the pair were "full of embarrassments".

The pair present a driver combination that has looked combustible at times, despite their undoubted individual qualities.

Team newcomer Leclerc pipped four-time world champion Vettel to fourth place in the 2019 drivers' standings, with the team second only to Mercedes for the constructors' title.

As Ferrari bid to close the gap to the dominant Silver Arrows, Binotto has given an insight into how the relationship between team management, experienced German Vettel and Monegasque prospect Leclerc developed after a difficult start.

Having to adhere strictly to dynamic team orders caused apparent consternation at times, with Vettel beginning the 2019 season as the clear senior driver before Leclerc's pace showed he may be a more likely future champion.

The matter came in for scrutiny on several occasions, and a crash between the pair that forced both to retire from the race in Brazil was perhaps the clanger of the season.

Binotto reflected on early discussions with his drivers and explained how "that type of meeting at the very start of the season was full of embarrassments and difficult to manage".

"But we are now getting used to it," Binotto said, quoted in Autosport.com and Motorsport.com.

"By the end of the season, it became comfortable more and more, which means that we are getting used to it as a team. In the race we can still make eventually mistakes but I'm pretty sure that mistakes are part of this process."

Ferrari have insisted the drivers have a stronger relationship than may have been portrayed or implied, and Binotto stressed delivering clear strategy instructions to both is essential for the continuing good of the team.

"We are still very convinced that trying to manage them is the best way in order to score team points when you get to the end of the season," Binotto said.

The 50-year-old team chief, who was heading the Ferrari squadron for the first time this year, said both Vettel and Leclerc "need to be respected as individuals" who set out to win races each time they take to the track.

And with Ferrari aiming to take the fight to Mercedes in 2020, Binotto said: "I believe that we can be stronger next year."

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