Chinese Grand Prix on April 19 is POSTPONED due to the outbreak of coronavirus… but the Shanghai race could be rescheduled later this year
- The Chinese Grand Prix has been postponed because of the coronavirus
- The race, which was scheduled for April 19 in Shanghai, could be rescheduled
- Shanghai is 500 miles away from Wuhan, where the virus broke out last month
- With 21 other races in the calendar, it remains unclear if F1 will be able to fit it in
The Chinese Grand Prix has become the latest sporting event to fall victim to the coronavirus after Formula One confirmed that it has been postponed.
The race, which was scheduled to be held on April 19 in Shanghai, will no longer go ahead due to growing fears over the outbreak.
However, it could be rescheduled for later in the year ‘should the situation improve’, according to an F1 statement.
The Chinese Grand Prix in April has been called off by Formula One due to coronavirus fears
The virus outbreak began last month in Wuhan, 500 miles away from the track in Shanghai
The statement read: ‘The Chinese Grand Prix Promoter, Juss Sports Group, officially requested the postponement after ongoing discussions with the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of People’s Republic of China (CAMF) and Shanghai Administration of Sports.
‘Amid continued health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, Formula 1, together with governing body the FIA, jointly decided to accept the postponement request in order to ensure the health and safety of the travelling staff, championship participants and fans.
‘Formula 1 and the FIA will continue to work closely with the teams, race promoter, CAMF and the local authorities to monitor the situation as it develops, with all parties studying the viability of potential alternative dates for the Grand Prix later in the year should the situation improve.’
It will not be easy to find space in a packed calendar that will still have 21 rounds even without Shanghai.
The statement continued: ‘The Chinese Grand Prix has always been a very important part of the F1 calendar and the fans are always incredible.
The race was due to be held at Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, on April 19 this year
A laboratory technician helps a colleague remove a protective suit in Shenyang on Wednesday
‘We all look forward to racing in China as soon as possible and wish everyone in the country the best during this difficult time.’
Shanghai is 500 miles from Wuhan where the outbreak began last month. The number of deaths from the virus rose to 1,000 on Tuesday.
All domestic football has been suspended in China, and among the events either cancelled or postponed are the World Indoor Athletics Championships and Tokyo Olympics qualifiers for boxing and women’s basketball.
Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton’s chances of finishing his career at Ferrari were handed a major setback on Tuesday night.
The chances of Lewis Hamilton finishing his career at Ferrari were dashed on Tuesday night
At the launch of their 2020 car, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto claimed that his priority is to stick with Sebastian Vettel as team-mate to Charles Leclerc.
Both Hamilton, the six-time world champion, and Vettel, the four-time winner, are out of contract at the end of the season, which starts in Melbourne on March 15.
Ferrari had previously confirmed their interest in the British superstar, admitting chairman John Elkann spoke to him tentatively about a move a few months ago.
At their 2020 car launch, Ferrari said they plan to go with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel
But on Tuesday, Binotto said: ‘Seb is our first choice at the moment. It (his next contract) is something we are discussing with him now and we will continue to discuss with him. He is our first choice.’
Asked if Hamilton, 35, was a fall-back option, Binotto said: ‘It’s not something we are considering at the moment.’
That sounds like music to ears of Hamilton’s existing Mercedes team, who are opening contract talks about his future this week.