Coronavirus could prompt F1 calendar change, with Chinese GP at risk

Image by Glenn Dunbar/LAT

Coronavirus could prompt F1 calendar change, with Chinese GP at risk

Formula 1

Coronavirus could prompt F1 calendar change, with Chinese GP at risk


The FIA says it is closely monitoring the situation in China due to a Coronavirus outbreak that could lead to the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Over 100 people have died as a result of Coronavirus and there are more than 7500 confirmed cases worldwide of the virus that originated in Wuhan, leading to many governments suggesting people should only travel to China if it is essential.

This year’s race in Shanghai is scheduled for April 19, but with World Cup alpine skiing events in February already cancelled and the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Nanjing in March postponed by a year, the FIA says it is monitoring the situation and looking at ways any potential changes might impact on the F1 calendar.

“Following the coronavirus epidemic that broke out in China at the beginning of the year, the FIA is closely monitoring the evolving situation with relevant authorities and its Member Clubs, under the direction of FIA Medical Commission President, Professor Gérard Saillant,” the statement read.

“The FIA will evaluate the calendar of its forthcoming races and, if necessary, take any action required to help protect the global motorsport community and the wider public.”

The Chinese Grand Prix is currently scheduled to be the fourth round on this year’s F1 calendar, and the organizers of the preceding race — a new event in Vietnam — say they have yet to be approached about any potential date changes.

“For us, everything that we are doing, all our mindset, is that we are ready for the fixed date, so in terms of event delivery it doesn’t matter if it needs moving later or whatever — we are ready,” CEO of the Vietnam Grand Prix Corporation Ms. Chi Le Ngoc told RACER. “We are ready for April 3 to 5.

“Now, if there is any difficulty I would understand it might be more on the Formula 1 side with all the fixed dates for their sponsors. On our side most of our sponsors are national, so if (a date change) ever happens we would probably need to talk to them, but in terms of readiness we have no problem whether it’s the current date or a later date. But with all the arrangements we have made with entertainment acts, support races, sponsors, things like that, it probably requires preparations and discussions to make sure it doesn’t affect anyone negatively.

“But I have to reinforce that nobody has approached us or anything. We will prepare as our date is set. I have had absolutely no talks (about a date change) or anything like that. I understand they are concerned.”