OXFORDSHIRE’S Formula 1 teams are gearing up for the season-opening race in Australia under the cloud of coronavirus.

Two members of Banbury-based Haas are self-isolating in their Melbourne hotel after being tested for the disease.

A Haas spokesperson said: “Two members of the team have been quarantined and remain in their hotel room. They displayed symptoms of a cold.”

F1 bosses are facing criticism for refusing to cancel the event, with more than 100,000 fans attending on the Sunday alone last year.

Drivers have, however, been told not to take selfies with fans, while a

two-metre exclusion zone will be in place when they conduct their media duties today.

Next week’s race in Bahrain will be behind closed doors due to fears about the spread of coronavirus, while the Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled for April 19, has already been postponed.

On the track, Haas have retained last season’s line-up of Frenchman Romain Grosjean and Danish driver Kevin Magnussen.

They will be hoping to improve on last year’s ninth-placed finish in the Constructors’ Championship.

Enstone-based Renault are quietly confident after an encouraging end to pre-season testing and their

fifth-placed finish in 2019.

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul said: “We head to Australia with ambition but with a hint of caution given the relative unknown of the competition level of our rivals.

“The first race is the time everyone on the grid shows their true hand.”

New recruit Esteban Ocon partners Australian Daniel Ricciardo and takes part in his first race for 16 months after spending last year as Mercedes’ test driver.

He said: “It’s been a while since I’ve had to get into that competitive mindset, so it’s very exciting to be doing that again.”

Ricciardo, who is entering the final year of his contract, has never finished higher than fourth at his home race and will be desperate for a strong showing.

Meanwhile, Williams are looking to put a miserable 2019 behind them.

The Grove-based team scored a single point in the last campaign, but showed encouraging signs during pre-season testing.

Nicholas Latifi will be the only rookie on the grid as he steps up to a full-time race seat.

He said: “It’s been a long winter with a lot of work going on behind the scenes, so there is a lot of anticipation going into my debut.”

He added: “I’m sure it will be a weekend that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

The Canadian driver is accompanied by Brit George Russell, who returns for a second season, in an inexperienced line-up.