After much deliberation, the FIA and Shanghai officials have finally decided that the Chinese Grand Prix will be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak
Formula E has already had to cancel its race in Sanya on 21 March due to the threat from the coronavirus. It was hoped that the Chinese GP in Shanghai on 19 April would be far enough away for the situation to have improved, but officials are taking no chances and have decided to postpone the event until a later date. An FIA statement reads:
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 2020 FIA Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix be postponed.
The FIA, together with the Formula 1, have jointly decided to accept this official request from the promoter and postpone the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix, originally scheduled for 19 April.
As a result of continued health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, the FIA and Formula 1 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.
The FIA and Formula 1 continue to work closely with the teams, race promoter, CAMF 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 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.
Given how early in the season the Chinese GP is it seems unlikely that the race will be replaced, meaning there will be a gap of almost a month between the Vietnam GP on 5 April and the Dutch GP on 3 May. And because the schedule is so packed, it’s going to be tough to find a way to shoehorn the race back into the calendar at a later date in a way that suits the sport, the race organisers, and the teams.
If the race remains cancelled, this means we’re back down to ‘only’ 21 races again in 2020, with the record-breaking 22-race season (or more) having to wait for another year.