UPDATE (10.34am): The 2020 Australian Grand Prix has officially been cancelled mere hours before practice was to begin, amid mounting concerns over the spread of coronavirus.
In a statement issued jointly by F1, governing body the FIA and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, organisers confirmed the race would not go ahead, with all Formula 1 activity cancelled and ticket holders to be issued a full refund.
"Following the confirmation that a member of the McLaren Racing Team has tested positive for COVID-19 and the team’s decision to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix, Formula 1 and the FIA convened a meeting of the other nine team principals on Thursday evening," the statement read.
"Those discussions concluded with a majority view of the teams that the race should not go ahead.
"Formula 1 and the FIA, with the full support of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) have therefore taken the decision that all Formula 1 activity for the Australian Grand Prix are cancelled.
"We appreciate this is very disappointing news for the thousands of fans due to attend the race and all ticket holders will receive a full refund and a further announcement will be communicated in due course."
Angry fans were only notified of the decision around 10.30am on Friday, many after spending over an hour waiting at the gates, prompting an uproar that was captured by social media users.
The event's cancellation follows Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews telling media that no fans would be allowed to attend the Grand Prix if it were to go ahead, after a member of McLaren's F1 team tested positive for coronavirus.
“From a public health point of view, the event, if it is to be run – and I’ll leave it to Grand Prix officials, the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix organising body, to make an official announcement, I think that will happen quite soon – but on public health grounds, there will be no spectators at the Grand Prix this weekend if a race actually happens at all,” Premier Andrews said.
“The Chief Health Officer has updated his advice, that’s been communicated to Grand Prix organisers and now they’re making that choice between no event or an event without fans. But at the very least there will be no fans at the Grand Prix this weekend."
Fans arriving at the Albert Park track on Friday morning were delayed from entering, while BBC Sport journalist Andrew Benson reporting Formula 1 drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen had already boarded a plane back to Europe.
Update coming on the @BBCSport website shortly but can confirm that Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have flown back to Europe. As things stand, the race is still off, even if the organisers are not admitting. Why they are doing that is not clear— Andrew Benson (@andrewbensonf1) March 12, 2020
The McLaren racing team was the first to announce it would withdraw from the race after one of its team members tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team, meanwhile, issued a statement on Friday saying it had also decided to withdraw from the event and had requested the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) cancel the Grand Prix altogether.
"We share the disappointment of the sport's fans that this race cannot go ahead as planned... [w]e do not feel it would be right to participate in an event where fellow competitors such as McLaren are unable to do so," the statement read.
"Our team will therefore begin pack-up preparations at the circuit this morning."
MORE: Formula One news