New Delhi: 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 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 organising a record-breaking 22 Grand Prix this season, including the Shanghai race.