Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff remains convinced the Chinese Grand Prix will go ahead as planned in April, despite the outbreak of coronavirus in China. 

The developing epidemic of coronavirus, which continues to show little sign of improving, has already forced the cancellation and postponement of a number of sporting events in China, including Formula E’s race in Sanya, which was scheduled for March 21. 

F1 is currently monitoring the situation in China ahead of the third round of the 2020 season, which is due to take place on April 19, while many airlines have stopped their flights to China following foreign government recommendations that their citizens should leave the country. 

There have been more than 40,000 cases of the virus globally, mostly in China, where the total number of deaths now stands at over 900. 

But speaking at a Mercedes press conference at the Royal Automobile Club in London on Monday, Wolff insisted that preparations for the event are going ahead as planned, for the time being at least.  

“Formula E was cancelled in China, they are there about three weeks before us and they cancelled last week, so I would very much hope that we go to China,” Wolff said.

“Actually after this I’m going to the China embassy for my biometric scan, so at the moment everything looks like we are going to China. 

While Wolff said the cancellation of the race would be disappointing, he concedes that health issues have to remain the priority. 

“Not going would be a shame,” he explained. 

“We had full grandstands last year, it was sold out and China starts to become a really important market in terms of the fan follower-ship where we have great activities in Shanghai around the race.

“Not going there would obviously not be great for the fans and ourselves but health comes first and I hope they get in control of that. That’s the bigger priority.”