Start, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Coronavirus could post threat to Chinese Grand Prix

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In the round-up: The coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China and is believed to have caused over 130 deaths could prevent April’s Chinese Grand Prix from going ahead.

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Comment of the day

How many F1 teams could be weighing up the possibility of leaving the sport?

I’m not really surprised that Mercedes corporate is under pressure to abandon F1, especially given the magnitude of their lay-offs.

It will boil down to simple maths. Is their investment in F1 getting them equal value in sales. Or more particularly, would sales be impacted by their leaving F1. The sale price of the team may also have some bearing – I doubt that Stroll/Wolff have deep enough pockets to effectively buy it out without attracting another investor from somewhere.

I also suspect that there will be similar meetings in similar board rooms this year.

The most likely candidate I believe would be Red Bull. At some point the owner might just decide that it’s not worth the money.

Let’s also not forget that Renault has a number of corporate woes so I’d not necessarily see them being super positive about staying either.

It will be interesting to see what incentives Liberty may have to offer up to hold the competition together.
DB-C90 (@dbradock)

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On this day in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, Buenos Aires Grand Prix, Mercedes, 1955
Juan Manuel Fangio, Buenos Aires Grand Prix, Mercedes, 1955
  • 65 years ago today Juan Manuel Fangio won the non-championship Buenos Aires Grand Prix, held over two heats, in his Mercedes

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Coronavirus could post threat to Chinese Grand Prix”

  1. 90 million? Why not? He is the main reason merc has stayed in f1. Great news on JPGP, the US gp is also starting really late.

    1. he makes now 40M pound if my memory serves me right, i think the amount is more around 60 M and for till 2022. Not that Lewis asked for this but a offer from Mercedes to overthink the talks later.

      Maybe something for @Keith to make a article over how contracts talks work in F1 !

    2. @peartree But only an hour later as it most recently did in 2017.

  2. Seeing that the daylight hours/visibility factor was always a concern with the Japanese GP, it is good to see the starting time advanced by an hour.

    1. Is that the official reason or just well founded speculation? I was thinking of going again this year and an earlier start would certainly make the return journey to Nagoya a bit more relaxed.

    2. @phylyp But it wasn’t a concern with the most recent race start time, so it’s more likely about the logistics of getting to and leaving Suzuka as @thecollaroyboys brought up.

      1. @thecollaroyboys – oh, it’s just my speculation and a general statement, given that the later start time was one of the factors associated with Bianchi’s crash. That doesn’t mean it was the motivation behind moving this year’s start time. Good to know of the travel benefit you’ve pointed out.

        @jerejj – quite possible, yes. I’m just saying the added daylight is another benefit as well. And while the start time wasn’t a problem last year, a 2:10 pm start still means the four-hour race window crosses into twilight, a problem that is avoided by starting an hour earlier. It needn’t just be rain-related stoppages that can cause delays, it could even be significant repairs like the one necessitated by Kimi’s crash in Silverstone in 2014.

  3. Heh, nice one, saw what you did there… on this day :)

    1. @scottie You’re going to have to tell me what I’ve done there as I have no idea!

      1. @keithcollantine Sorry mate, thought it was a play on Mercedes leaving the sport vs noting their achievements and heritage with it, hoping they’d not withdraw.

        Thought, of all the things to note in F1 on this day, it might have been something, but nevermind. :)

  4. It would make total sense to cancel the china race, the most important thing is reducing the spread of the coronavirus. Cancelling a race would be something I’d use to consider a shame but there are so many races now per season that one won’t be missed.

    1. There have been times when races were cancelled due to safety conditions of drivers so in this case it would be wise to cancel the even well in advance for health safety of spectators and the teams.

    2. Given the geography and reported spread of the virus, might the preceding race in Vietnam also have to be cancelled?

    3. @broke84
      I agree cancelling could make sense, but given F1 being an “international sport” and the money involved, I imagine they’ll do everything they can do to keep the race on, even if it means racing behind closed doors and having some sort of quarantine from airport to circuit! (Regardless of how logistically ridiculous that would be)

      1. It wouldn’t work. Marshal’s and other track workers will be local.

  5. Both F1 management and the governing FIA are monitoring the situation to consider their options for the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai…

    We still know little about the virus or the amount of quarantine time needed for those exposed to the virus. I think the safer option is to be cautious now rather than Gung Ho. One easy option is to swap another established event with the Chinese GP, e.g. the Russian or Italian GP, so they do the GP early in the season and the Chinese GP is done later in the season. By then we should have a much better idea about whether to cancel the Chinese GP. If we had to cancel that at the later part of the year then we will probably be dealing with a pandemic, in which case F1 might have to conclude the season early.

    1. @drycrust That’s easier said than done, though. You can’t just suddenly move a venue from the end of the season to the beginning with this little notice or the other way round for a few reasons. Should the Chinese GP get cancelled then, it’d mean no Chinese GP for the 2020 season.

      1. Yes, those are good points. Lots of people have made hotel bookings, there’s things like satellite links that have been booked, TV broadcast contracts booked … pretty much everything will have been booked and all that would need to be changed, which would cause frustration and annoyance, especially as there’s no guarantee that some of those services will be available at that other time.
        The next GP is about two weeks after the Chinese GP, and two weeks seems to be an acceptable quarantine time … except everyone wasn’t actually in quarantine, they will have sat next to people in aircraft, buses, trains, got home, gone back to work, made contact with maybe several thousand people each, etc.

  6. Probably not any greater threat than the fires to the Australian GP, though. I’m positive everything will go ahead as planned.

    The fourth different title-sponsor for the Japanese GP in as many seasons as Emirates held that status for a few years most recent in 2017, then Honda in 2018, and Heineken last season, so they don’t seem to be able to make up their mind on this front, LOL.

    The 14:10 (14:00 before 2018) start time had worked, though, so maybe not the most necessary change, but I can understand them wanting to have 60 minutes more till the sunset just in case or to ease the travelling to and out of the circuit for attendees. The only downside for me is the need to wake up 60 minutes earlier than in the last five seasons, but it’s worth it given the (probable) reason(s) behind the shift. The thing I still can’t really understand, though, is this constant postponement of Friday practice-session timings from 10:00-11:30 and 14:00-15:30 to 11:00-12:30 and 15:00-16:30 for FP1 and FP2 respectively. What’s the point in those? More consistency on this front wouldn’t be for the bad.

  7. Isn’t the expression “pose a threat” or am I missing something? 🤔

    1. @jamiefranklinf1: It is. But on the internet, a post is more powerful than a pose. Even if the post is made by a poser. Modern communication is complicated. ;-)

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