The FIA has indicated it is prepared to make changes to its calendar of motor racing events, potentially including Formula 1, in response to the spread of the coronavirus throughout China.
Formula E is due to visit Sanya, an island some 700 kilometres south of Wuhan, for a race on March 21st. Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix will be held at the Shanghai International Circuit, 500km east of Wuhan, from April 17th-19th. Shanghai will also host other FIA-sanctioned GT races later in the year and the World Touring Car Cup is due to visit Ningbo in September.
“Following the coronavirus epidemic that broke out in China at the beginning of the year, the FIA is closely monitoring the evolving situation with relevant authorities and its member clubs, under the direction of FIA Medical Commission President, Professor Gerard Saillant,” said the FIA in a statement.
“The FIA will evaluate the calendar of its forthcoming races and, if necessary, take any action required to help protect the global motor sport community and the wider public.”
[smr2020test]The virus has already had an impact on other international sports. The International Ski Federation has cancelled the downhill and super-G races which were due to take place on February 15th and 16th in Yanqing. The World Indoor Athletics Championship in Nanjing, which was scheduled for March 13th to 15th, has been postponed by a year.
The potential spread of the virus beyond China’s borders may also prove a concern. The city of Hanoi, which is due to host its first grand prix on April 5th, lies close to Vietnam’s northern border with China.
The last time a scheduled F1 race did not go ahead for anything other than contractual reasons was in 2011, when the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix was postponed and later cancelled for security reasons after a month-long protest in the capital was forcibly suppressed.
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
2020 F1 season
- Pictures: Wrecked chassis from Grosjean’s Bahrain fireball crash to go on display
- Bottas vs Rosberg: Hamilton’s Mercedes team mates compared after 78 races each
- F1 revenues fell by $877 million in Covid-struck 2020 season
- Hamilton and Mercedes finally announce new deal for 2021 season
- F1 audience figures “strong” in 2020 despite dip in television viewers