The 2020 Chinese Grand Prix will not be held on it original date of April 19 after Formula 1 confirmed a postponement of the race due to the coronavirus outbreak.
With a little over two months to go until the race in Shanghai, F1 and the FIA confirmed that race organizers Just Sports Group had requested a postponement while the virus outbreak in China is brought under control. More than 1,100 people have died from the virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has led to severe restrictions on travel to and from the country.
“In view of the continued spread of novel coronavirus and after ongoing discussions with the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of People’s Republic of China (CAMF) and Shanghai Administration of Sports, the Chinese Grand Prix Promoter, Juss Sports Group, has officially requested that the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix be postponed,” an FIA statement read.
“The FIA, together with the Formula 1, have have jointly decided to accept this official request from the promoter and postpone the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix. As a result of continued health concerns and with the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, the FIA and Formula 1 have taken these measures in order to ensure the health and safety of the traveling staff, championship participants and fans, which remains of primary concern.”
For now the race has simply been postponed, with F1 and the FIA saying they will explore whether it can be hosted at a later date this year. However, doing so after the mid-season break looks extremely tough given a run of nine races in 14 weeks from August 30 to November 29.
“The FIA and Formula 1 continue to work closely with the teams, race promoter, CAMF and the local authorities to monitor the situation as it develops,” the statement continued. “All parties will take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates for the Grand Prix later in the year should the situation improve.
“The Chinese Grand Prix has long been an important part of the F1 calendar with many passionate fans. The FIA F1 community looks forward to racing in China as soon as possible and wishes everyone in the country the best during this difficult time.”
The change to the calendar means there will be a four-week break between the inaugural Vietnamese Grand Prix on April 5 and the return of the Dutch Grand Prix on May 3.