The NTT IndyCar Series has cancelled its season opener, which had been set to run Sunday on the streets of St. Petersburg, and suspended the early portion of its season through Round 4 at Circuit of The Americas on April 26. The decision comes in response to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus and extends through the end of April which, as RACER has confirmed, also removes the April 28 Indianapolis 500 Open Test from the schedule.
“After careful consideration, including regular communication with our event promoters, health officials, and the city administrations in our respective race markets regarding COVID-19, we have made the decision to cancel all NTT IndyCar Series events through April,” the series explained in a statement. “This begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg which was to begin today and run through Sunday, March 15 and continues through the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas which was to take place April 24-26.
“Although we are disappointed to delay the start to this IndyCar season and will miss our incredible fans who support us each year in St. Petersburg, Birmingham, Long Beach, and Austin, the safety of our fans, participants, staff, partners, and media will always remain our top priority. We will continue to coordinate with public health experts and government officials as we determine the appropriate plans for resuming our schedule.”
NASCAR, which like IndyCar had originally planned to race this weekend without fans in attendance, has also now postponed its events in Atlanta, as well as the following week in Homestead.
According to a circuit representative who spoke with RACER, as of late Friday morning, the screening process implemented for all personnel entering the St. Petersburg facility did not result in anyone being flagged, denied entry, or referred to a local hospital for testing.
As things currently stand, the season will open with the Indy GP on May 9.
With IndyCar serving as the sanctioning body for the Road to Indy, the St. Petersburg cancellation also extends to Indy Lights, Indy Pro 2000, and USF2000, and removes the following race at Barber Motorsports Park from the RTI schedule. Provided the cancellations do not extend beyond April, the next RTI appearance would come with IndyCar at the Indianapolis Grand Prix.
The SRO Motorsports Group also confirmed its portion of the St. Petersburg event has been cancelled.