Start, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Holding postponed Chinese Grand Prix this year will be “incredibly difficult”

2020 Chinese Grand Prix

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Fitting the postponed Chinese Grand Prix into the end of the 2020 F1 calendar will be difficult even if it’s possible for the race to go ahead, Formula 1 teams believe.

[smr2020test]The race, which was originally scheduled to take place on April 19th, has been postponed due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus. But adding a race after the summer break would mean holding at least three races on consecutive weekends.

Although this has been done once before, the three rounds were all held inside Europe, much closer to the team’s bases. The championship is already scheduled to visit parts of Asia, North and South America over the final months of the championship.

Speaking exclusively to RaceFans, Racing Point sporting director Andy Stevenson said this is why he doubts F1 could find a viable slot for the race.

“We haven’t really looked into it in any great detail until we [get] more information,” he said. “But just looking at it sort of briefly from the outside, it would be incredibly difficult for us to do it.

“If you look towards the end of the season and where we are around the world and where the races are falling, it would be extremely difficult not to have it as minimum a triple-header. And without really checking the details I don’t think we have the infrastructure to support a fly-away triple-header ourselves as a team. We’d have to know pretty soon and we’d have to move pretty quickly.”

Franz Tost, AlphaTauri, AT-01 first run, Misano, 2020
Tost supports the decision to delay the race
“Knowing also the equipment that everybody else takes, even the bigger teams, we all have similar amounts of sea freight and that would be the big challenge moving that equipment around really quickly because there’s a lot of planning goes into ensuring that arrives on time,” he added.

As reported here previously, one possibility F1 is considering is compressing the Chinese Grand Prix race weekend to two days instead of three, and holding it between the Brazilian Grand Prix and the season finale in Abu Dhabi, both in November. But it remains to be seen whether the threat from the virus will have receded to a safe level by then.

“I don’t think that anybody can say in November this virus is gone,” said Haas team principal Guenther Steiner. “We hope it’s gone because it’s not good but there is no guarantee of that.

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“If it is all gone, we’ll see how it works, if it is even possible logistically to do. There is a lot of ‘ifs’. I think they are looking into it but they haven’t come back to us with a proposal how are we going to do it.”

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost also has doubts over whether the race could be rescheduled in time. “Whether we can squeeze it in at the end of the season, we will see,” he said.

[f1tv2020testb]”First of all, they have to sort [it] out, they have a situation, and I doubt that they can do it within the timeframe they need to do it to be safe to go there, not running into troubles.

“If there’s a possibility, yes of course, then it’s at the end of the season. Because Abu Dhabi has to be the last race as far as I know, in the contract, maybe [move] Abu Dhabi one week later, there’s always a possibility. If the coronavirus is under control, then I think we can find a solution.”

Tost stressed he supported the decision of the authorities not to hold the race in April. “It’s the absolute right decision from the FIA and from FOM not to go to China under these circumstances because safety and health for all the employees and for all the people who also would be there is the most important factor.”

F1 races after the summer break

Sunday Race
30th August Belgium
6th September Italy
13th September
20th September Singapore
27th September Russia
4th October
11th October Japan
18th October
25th October USA
1st November Mexico
8th November
15th November Brazil
22nd November
29th November Abu Dhabi

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2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

9 comments on “Holding postponed Chinese Grand Prix this year will be “incredibly difficult””

  1. Looking at that date information 4 October is the one who is logistic the best. F1 has a hard decision to make.

    1. @macleod But that would create a stretch of four consecutive-weekends of racing.

      1. Yes, but they are all in the same area.

  2. Maybe it’s better to take a long term point of view, which I believe the Chinese are used to. After all, what’s one year to a culture that has 3000 years of history? While we can’t run the GP this year because of this virus, that’s not the end of the Chinese GP. One day it will be safe to hold the Chinese GP again, and then maybe some time hold an extra Chinese GP to compensate for not being able to run it this year.

    1. Because they don’t take a “long term” view when it comes to these things, as evidenced by their reaction to Australia’s travel ban to Chinese citizens. I’m sure they understand why it is there but instead they are whinging about it just to cause a diplomatic incident.

  3. Just do what they’ve done before with the Swiss GP or Luxembourg GP, hold it somewhere else and call it the Chinese GP. Who’s got a spare racetrack we can use?

  4. Give us an Imola race come on Liberty!

  5. Hm, if they thinks the virus is still a danger in November, that would possibly also put the Singapore GP in a bit of an uncertain state, as it is the city-state/country with 2nd biggest ‘cluster’ of Covid-19 ill (after China), though they do have a strict, and seemingly relatively effective containment regime, which might help them.

  6. Just let it go already. Not having the Chinese GP for this one season wouldn’t be the end of the world anyway. Bahrain survived it’s ‘year-off’ so China would as well. This is just getting desperate. Would it even be realistic to make it from Sao Paulo to Shanghai in time, given the excessiveness of the distance, which is far greater than the Baku-Montreal, Melbourne-Bahrain, or Sao Paulo-Abu Dhabi (they took place on subsequent weekends in 2010) distances? Ridiculous to even contemplate something like this at this short notice.

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