A statement issued jointly by F1, governing body the FIA and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation read: "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. 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.

"All parties took into consideration the huge efforts of the AGPC, Motorsport Australia, staff and volunteers to stage the opening round of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship in Melbourne, however concluded that the safety of all members of the Formula 1 family and the wider community, as well as the fairness of the competition take priority."

The public were locked out of the racetrack at Albert Park this morning while the decision to axe the event was being taken.

It comes after Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said yesterday that he was surprised the race looked like going ahead at that point.

He is believed to have been leading a contingent of drivers pushing for the event to be scrapped. A number of drivers were said to have already left Australia before the final decision was announced.

Mercedes wrote to F1 and the FIA demanding the race was abandoned. The letter added: "We no longer feel the safety of our employees can be guaranteed if we continue to take part in the event."

The infection of one of the Maclaren team and their subsequent withdrawal proved to be the final factor in shutting down the race.

A statement last night read: “McLaren Racing has confirmed this evening in Melbourne that it has withdrawn from the 2020 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, following the positive test of a team member for the coronavirus. 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."