Two more Haas F1 staff isolated over virus fears

Melbourne (AFP) –


Two more staff from the Haas Formula One team have been isolated while they are tested for the new coronavirus, taking the total to four, team officials said Thursday.

McLaren also has a staff member in isolation at a hotel pending test results. Both teams are in Melbourne for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, whose first practice sessions are on Friday.

"It's four in total, one engineer and three mechanics," team principal Guenther Steiner said. "At the moment we can cope."

He said the results were expected to be known later Thursday.

"Hopefully they come back negative and we keep going as we want to," he said, adding that they had not yet discussed what to do if a positive test was confirmed.

"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

"Alternative plans are difficult because nobody can come here now time-wise. We need to come up with something and in racing you always find solutions."

Asked if he thought the opening race of the season should be cancelled if team members have the virus, he replied: "I'm not a health expert so I can't comment on that one.

"We take it seriously, if someone has something then we ask them to tell us as soon as possible and not hide it, which would be the worst thing to do."

The Chinese Grand Prix is the only race to be postponed so far, although the second leg of the season at Bahrain will be held without spectators.