Formula 1 bosses are assessing its options over the Chinese Grand Prix which looks unlikely to go ahead on its original date with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

With the coronavirus having already killed over 550 people, and infecting over 28,000 in total, the World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak a global health emergency with a £520m three-month plan in place to fight the spread of the virus.

Chinese medical officials have stepped up efforts, particularly in the Hubei province where the outbreak is thought to have started, with two new hospitals built and 11 public venues transformed into wards.

A number of cities in the region have been effectively locked down to stop the spread of infection, while Shanghai’s Sports Federation has advised all events should be suspended until the end of the current outbreak.

The world indoor athletics championship in Nanjing and Formula E’s Sanya ePrix have already been cancelled with attention now turning to F1’s Chinese GP scheduled for April 17-19.

Following Wednesday’s F1 Strategy Group meeting, the sport is weighing up its options to reschedule the race for later in the season before completely cancelling it for 2020.

But with a packed end of season run, nine races in 14 weeks across the globe, and the Russian Grand Prix reportedly refusing to switch places its options appear limited.

F1 is also waiting for the Chinese authorities to make a decision on the race, with restrictions on travel, visas and the likely insurance complications meaning the call could be taken out of F1’s hands.

F1’s commercial rights holders Liberty Media are also unlikely to want to make the first move given the financial implications and potential lost revenue which could follow.

The last F1 race to be cancelled was the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix due to months of protests and social unrest in the Gulf kingdom during the Arab Springs.

Last year the Chinese Grand Prix celebrated hosting F1’s 1000th Grand Prix while the race at the Shanghai International Circuit has been an ever-present fixture on the calendar since 2004.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...