SPORTS Chinese F1 postponed over coronavirus fconcerns

SPORTS

Chinese F1 postponed over coronavirus fconcerns

AFP

00:36, February 13, 2020

F1.jpg

Valtteri Bottas competes in Mercedes during the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China, April 14, 2019. (File photo: VCG)

The Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for April 19 has been postponed because of the "continued spread" of the deadly coronavirus, motorsport's governing body FIA announced on Wednesday.

FIA said promotors of the Shanghai race had requested a postponement "in view of the continued spread of novel coronavirus," now named COVID-19.

"As a result of continued health concerns and with the @WHO (World Health Organisation) declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, the FIA and @F1 Formula 1 have taken these measures in order to ensure the health and safety of the travelling staff, championship participants and fans."

The Shanghai race, the fourth of the new season, becomes the latest -- but easily the most high-profile — sports event to fall victim to the virus outbreak which has killed more than 1,100 people in China, where it emerged at the end of last year.

The postponement also throws into doubt the inaugural race in Vietnam, which takes place two weeks before but where there have also been cases of COVID-19.

"The FIA and @F1 continue to work closely with the teams, promoter, CAMF and local authorities to monitor the situation," FIA said in relation to the Shanghai postponement.

"All parties will take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates later in the year should the situation improve."

That could prove tricky with FIA organizing a record-breaking 22 Grand Prix this season, including the Shanghai race.

Important part of calendar

FIA added: "The Chinese Grand Prix has long been an important part of the F1 calendar with many passionate fans. The FIA F1 community looks forward to racing in China as soon as possible and wishes everyone in the country the best during this difficult time.

"The global situation regarding this virus will continue to be monitored by the FIA with regard to other motor sport events."

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, speaking in London on Monday, said not going to Shanghai would be a "shame".

"We had full grand stands last year," he said, adding that China was beginning to become a "really important market in terms of fan followership."

"Not going there would not be great for the fans and ourselves, but health comes first."

China has been forced to cancel or put off a host of sporting events due to the coronavirus epidemic, from suspending all football in the country to postponing the first badminton tournament of the 2020 world tour season.

Athletics' World Indoor Championships, scheduled for Nanjing in March 13-15, have been postponed for a year.

The Chinese Formula E Grand Prix, due to take place in Sanya on the southern island of Hainan on March 21, was called off "after close consultation" with government authorities.

Related Stories

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy to comply with the latest laws and regulations. The updated policy explains the mechanism of how we collect and treat your personal data. You can learn more about the rights you have by reading our terms of service. Please read them carefully. By clicking AGREE, you indicate that you have read and agreed to our privacy policies

Agree and continue