Chinese Grand Prix 2020 has been postponed following coronavirus outbreak
One of the most popular races on the Formula One circuit, Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled to take place in April at the Shanghai International Circuit, has been called off following the coronavirus outbreak.
Formula 1 says the race, which was due to be fourth on the 2020 F1 calendar, has been “postponed”. While there's no new date yet for the Chinese Grand Prix, officials have said that efforts are underway to find another time to hold it. One of the new races on the track the Vietnam Grand Prix in Hanoi on April 5 is also in doubt.
CNN reports that the decision to cancel the race weekend in Shanghai, which was scheduled for April 17-19, was taken jointly by F1 and the sports governing body, the FIA, after the Juss Sports Group -- the Chinese Grand Prix promoter -- officially requested its postponement.
In 2019, about 70,000 people attended the Chinese Grand Prix. F1 teams and race personnel also amount to around 2000 at any given race weekend. Many team officials were concerned that they would be potentially exposed to the virus and the vast majority would then return to Europe, risking spreading the infection.
“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 Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2020 be postponed,” said F1 in a statement.
“Formula 1, together with the FIA, have jointly decided to accept this official request from the promoter and postpone the Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2020, originally scheduled for 19 April 2020.
“As a result of continued health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, Formula 1 and the FIA 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.
“Formula 1 and the FIA continue to work closely with the teams, race promoter, CAMF [the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sport of China] 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 always been a very important part of the Fl calendar and the fans are always incredible. We all look forward to racing in China as soon as possible and wish everyone in the country the best during this difficult time.”
Designed to accommodate 200,000 paying punters, the Shanghai International Circuit battles to pull a third that on race day despite being situated on the outskirts of Shanghai with its population of 25 million. Indeed, a three-day attendance of 160,000 was reported in 2019, with race day estimates of around 70,000.