Cancellations of Formula 1 races are rare and the last time was 8 years ago when the Bahrain Grand Prix had to be cancelled due to security issues as a result of unrest in the country. This time, it’s the outbreak of a disease and given the seriousness and spread of the COVID-19 virus in China, the FIA has made the decision not to run the Chinese Grand Prix which was scheduled for April 19 in Shanghai. This follows the cancellation of the Formula E round that was to be held on Hainan Island next month.
For both events, the FIA has mentioned ‘postponed’ which suggests that the events could be held later in the year. However, the calendars are tight and finding an available weekend may not be easy. Furthermore, being in Asia, logistics have to be considered too as a series of races may be scheduled for the venues in the western hemisphere.
“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,” the organisation said in a statement.
“As a result of continued health concerns and with the World Health Organisation 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 travelling staff, championship participants and fans, which remains of primary concern,” said the FIA.
The FIA and Formula 1 will continue to work closely with the teams, race promoter, CAMF and the local authorities to monitor the situation as it develops. It will also review the situation for other motorsport events globally in accordance with the changing COVID-19 environment and advisories from the World Health Organisation.