Start, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Official: April’s Chinese Grand Prix is “postponed” due to Covid-19 coronavirus

2020 Chinese Grand Prix

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The Chinese Grand Prix, which was due to go ahead in April at the Shanghai International Circuit, has been called off following the coronavirus outbreak.

Formula 1 says the race, which was due to be the fourth event on the 2020 F1 calendar, has been “postponed”, and efforts are underway to find another time to hold it.

“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 Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2020 be postponed,” said F1 in a statement.

“Formula 1, together with the FIA, have jointly decided to accept this official request from the promoter and postpone the Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2020, originally scheduled for 19 April 2020.

“As a result of continued health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, Formula 1 and the FIA 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.

“Formula 1 and the FIA continue to work closely with the teams, race promoter, CAMF [the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sport of China] and the local authorities to monitor the situation as it develops. All parties will take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates for the Grand Prix later in the year should the situation improve.

“The Chinese Grand Prix has always been a very important part of the Fl calendar and the fans are always incredible. We all look forward to racing in China as soon as possible and wish everyone in the country the best during this difficult time.”

The postponement of the race means the Dutch Grand Prix, which is making its first appearance on the F1 calendar for 35 years, will now be the fourth round of the championship, following the new round in Vietnam. There will be a three-week gap between the two races.

The coronavirus, now officially designated Covid-19, is believed to have infected more than 44,000 people in China, and has spread to at least 20 other countries. The number of deaths attributed to the virus in China has exceeded 1,000.

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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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27 comments on “Official: April’s Chinese Grand Prix is “postponed” due to Covid-19 coronavirus”

  1. “Geniuses”

    Absolutely stupid decision.

    I suggest – cancel the whole Season, barricade in houses, and wait till the fittest survive and take over the world.

    Because this is not an overreaction.

    1. I’m glad such an awful venue got kicked out, albeit on unfortunately tragic grounds.

    2. a possible pandemic has no overreaction, this is an unknown virus with no cure in a world that is connected more than ever. Being careful is not an overreaction.

      When an event has a change for ruin precaution is necessary. Underestimating every pandemic will one day wipe us out.

      Why is the whole internet full of people who seem to think every precaution taken is too much? When should they take measures? When is it not an overreaction? Should they wait until it’s too late?

  2. Everyone’s saying what an important asset the Chinese Grand Prix is, but apart from the environmental issues (which are just enormous and shows the hypocrisy of F1 at their best), I never really got the empty grandstand at turn 13. Have they even been used?

    1. @pironitheprovocateur – with over a billion potential fans, I’m sure Liberty are hoping that it gets filled up in due course of time – hence all the love and affection shown to China. They’ve no doubt learnt from the failed CVC attempt at tapping into the other billion+ market in India.

    2. They were used at least for the inaugural race in 2004 and in 2005 as well.

  3. I know the coronavirus hasn’t reached Vietnam in a big way, it’s orders of magnitude less than what’s ravaging China.

    That said, I wonder how it would be playing into events like fans meet-and-greet and other such PR activities involving contact, and how much the teams and drivers would have enthusiasm for the same. Seeing as it’s the first event, the organizers would want to make a good spectacle of it, and I wonder if they will change the planned activities to minimize the risk (e.g. have more hands-off events like car demos, etc.)

    Also, I’m sure the F1 circus appreciates a break that’s longer than the summer break – they’ll be beavering away with the Spanish GP updates.

    1. @phylyp The gap between Vietnam and the Netherlands is the same as the Hungary-Belgium gap, three race-free weekends. It’d only get bigger if the Vietnamese GP got called off as well unless that’s what you indeed imply.

      1. @jerejj – You are correct, I should have phrased that “as long as” and not “longer than” :)

        With the current news about the virus, I don’t see Vietnam being impacted, so I wasn’t implying a cancellation or “postponement” as F1 like to call it. The earlier part of my comment was more around precautions that might warrant a change in the blitz of events the organizers no doubt have planned for the Vietnam GP.

  4. Hanoi, the site of the first Vietnamese F1 GP, is to take place two weeks before the Chinese GP.
    It is located 150km from the Chinese border and more or less as far away from Wuhan as Shanghai is (1.000km, take or leave).
    Is its cancellation discussed and considered?

    1. There are 15 infected people in Vietnam currently – the same as in Australia. (Shanghai has 306)

      It appears to be under control in both places and cancellation is unlikely in either.

    2. Not yet due to the limited number of confirmed cases in Vietnam. There are 15 confirmed cases in Vietnam and 45,000 cases in China as of yesterday.

  5. I don’t see another vacant spot on the calendar. They would have to be placing it on the back half of the calendar and slotting it in there would automatically result in 4 consecutive race weekends and we know teams already have issues with 3 consecutive weekends. Even shifting a bit around would still result in two 3 consecutive weekends.

    Unless Abu Dhabi has a special provision that they hold the last race, it will have to added to the end of the calendar or be cancelled outright. Or, the only other viable option without to much of an impact would be to move the Russian GP forward and China taking that spot.

    1. @NewDust The Russian GP move-suggestion is already out of the question, and ruled out by the venue promotion-company as well, so no point pondering that anymore. Moving any other race for that matter wouldn’t be viable at this short notice either as people have already booked flights (and accommodation) around the original weekend — more detail on that below.

  6. I know it isn’t mentioned in this article, but on a different site about this topic, so relevant here as well:
    Why even consider moving the Abu Dhabi GP (or any other race for that matter) given that people who’re going to attend the next Abu Dhabi GP have (probably) already booked flights and accommodation around the end-of-November weekend, so changing the Abu Dhabi GP-date wouldn’t be fair to them now. Booking the two above mentioned before the race calendar is set in stone is a different matter if a date would subsequently change. It’d be the problem of the people booking based on only ‘provisional’ dates, but changing dates at any time after the last WMSC-meeting of the preceding year, not. Who would compensate for those people in this case since they wouldn’t get their money spent on the flights back from the airline companies? F1, or the circuit for agreeing to change at relatively short notice?

    1. @jerejj and NewDust – I read the following statement from F1:

      the viability of potential alternative dates

      as: “We really really want to hold the Chinese GP this year, but we haven’t figured out yet how to do it, so we’ll keep trying (like the Miami GP), until it is obvious we absolutely cannot squeeze it in somewhere).

      Seriously, though, when F1 moves to the second leg of Asian flyaways, maybe F1 can just organize some manner of a fan event for F1 to show its presence in China (e.g. a street demo of the cars), without actually diverting the majority of the teams and their equipment to China.

      As an example, and assuming the disease is sorted out by then, for the weekend of 3-4 Oct which falls after Russia and before Japan, F1 can request teams (and compensate them if necessary for logistical costs) to bring an older demo car and minimal support crew to Shanghai for some flash. If they want to be flexible, they can also free the main drivers from this obligation, and instead have teams send their other drivers (test drivers, junior drivers, etc.) to just run the cars on the streets.

      1. Sure, I was merely pondering what such efforts may look like and how that would impact the current schedule.

        Frankly, I don’t see it happening this year, a fan event as you suggested at best. I am not loosing any sleep over wether they can make it work or not.

        1. I am not loosing any sleep over wether they can make it work or not.

          If not for the medical reason behind the cancellation, the cheers from fans would be louder ;)

    2. I forgot to add in my original post: This only ‘personal’ downside for me is that there won’t be an F1 race on my 25th birthday after all. The last time my birthday fell on a Sunday, there was an F1 race on the same day, and that was the Bahrain GP in 2015, but oh well, not a biggie.

      1. ‘The’ only

    3. I i remember correctly Abu Dhabi pay a lot of money to be the last race on the calender and i doubt the contract will allow it to be moved. Not 100% though

  7. The Brazilian GP does not pay a host fee.@keith and @dieter, do you think liberty media would have leverage against Brazil to move that date around, should conditions become ok race in Shanghai?

  8. Goodness, what an overreaction! It is over two months until that race, it’s silly to cancel it this far out. The flu is killing vastly more people than CV is but is anyone getting hysterical over it? Of course not.

    1. A lot of airlines have stopped all flights to China. Here is an up to date list

      Many have already said they won’t fly until the end of April. Overreaction? Maybe, but without flights it does make it tricky for fans to say the least. It won’t have been done lightly either – there’s far too much money involved and I’m sure if was even vaguely possible, it would go ahead. Best to bin it now and wish the pit crews a nice, unexpected break in April.

    2. it’s not an overreaction. First of all flu kills a lot less of the infected people. 2018/2019 we had about 2500 deaths on roughly 400.000 infected people in our country though it varies a bit every year. This Corona virus has killed 1000 in 42.000 infected people (more precise numbers will follow most likely later) Want to do the math if it really gets global? Sure, the global number of flu deaths is higher, cause more people get infected, but you fail to see potential catastrophe if no action is taken to contain this. It will result in countless deaths that can be avoided and for what? To race cars around a track?

      1. @passingisoverrated, not to mention that a number of individuals here have been quoting “influenza influenced” figures – thereby including a significant number of cases where somebody was infected with flu as a secondary disease, but the cause of death was an entirely different disease. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in your case, the figure of 400,000 infections and 2,500 deaths could also be an “influenza influenced” figure, which would mean that fatalities that were only as a direct consequence of flu could be even lower than the figures you quote there.

    3. Cancelling or postponing the Chinese GP isn’t an overreaction, it is common sense. If it weren’t for the fact the Chinese Government has seriously hindered travel to and from Wuhan this disease would be around the world now. From what I’ve heard and read in the media it seems lots of people are staying inside their apartments, and only going outside for essential reasons.

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