Significant chance Chinese GP will be postponed due to coronavirus – F1 chief

Formula One chiefs are poised to announce the postponement of the Chinese Grand Prix due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the PA news agency understands.

Confirmation could come as early as Wednesday, after it was decided that the race, scheduled to take place on April 19, could no longer go ahead as planned.

The coronavirus has claimed more than 1,000 lives in China.

HEALTH Coronavirus
Coronavirus: confirmed cases (PA Graphic)

Speaking on Wednesday, Chase Carey, Formula One’s chief executive, said: “We recognise that there is a significant chance, if not likelihood, that the event will be postponed.”

F1’s hierarchy have looked at plans to reschedule the race for later in the season.

But with a record-breaking 22 grands prix – including the round in Shanghai – already on the calendar, switching the race to another date will be difficult.

Carey, who was speaking to Sky Sports, added: “Part of the challenge is that you don’t really know the timeframe (of the virus).

Chase Carey has conceded that the Chinese race is under threat
Chase Carey has conceded that the Chinese race is under threat (David Davies/PA)

“Clearly we have a busy calendar so it’s not easy to reschedule this late when essentially we are a month out from our first race of the season.

“We will work with our Chinese partners to try and see, when we know more, what options might exist.”

Speaking last week, F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn said: “China is an enthusiastic, growing market, so we’d like to have a race there.

“We will just try to find a window of when the race could happen towards the end of the year.”

2017 Formula One Testing – Day Two – Circuit de Catalunya
Ross Brawn, F1’s motorsport boss, is hopeful a date can be found late in the year for a rescheduled Chinese Grand Prix (David Davies/PA Images)

The inaugural Vietnamese Grand Prix is due to take place on April 5, a fortnight before the race in Shanghai.

Hanoi is located on the Chinese border and there is growing concern among the travelling F1 circus that the race might also have to be postponed.

But the sport’s chiefs are determined that the third round of the season will go ahead as scheduled.

The opening winter test takes place in Barcelona next week ahead of the first race of the season in Melbourne on March 15.

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