Formula One’s Chinese Grand Prix has been postponed due to coronavirus, organisers say.
The fourth round of the Championship in Shanghai on 19 April is the latest sporting event in China to be cancelled or delayed.
But the disease has killed more than 1,100 people in China, and organisers said while the event is “an important part of the F1 calendar with many passionate fans”, they have decided it can no longer go ahead as planned.
The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) said in a statement on its website that it had accepted a request from the promoter of the Chinese race to postpone the event.
“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,” it said.
“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 said it would continue to work closely with all those involved in staging the race and 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,” it said.
“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 decision means there will be no fixture in the calendar between the Grand Prix in Vietnam between 5 April and the Netherlands race on 3 May.
There have now been more than 44,000 cases worldwide of the new coronavirus strain – now officially named COVID-19 – CO for corona, VI for virus, D for disease and 19 for the year it emerged.
The last a F1 race was postponed was in 2011, when the Bahrain Grand Prix was affected by the Arab Spring uprisings.
Which other sporting events have been called off, postponed or moved due to coronavirus?
- The World Athletics Indoor Championships from 13-15 March in Nanjing, China, has been postponed until 2021.
- The Hong Kong Marathon which was due to take place on 8 February has been cancelled
- The HSBC Women’s World Championships was set for Singapore at the end of February, but has been called off.
- The Honda LPGA Thailand, a women’s professional gold tournament, in Pattaya, has been cancelled.
- The Blue Bay LPGA, scheduled for the start of March on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, is now also not taking place.
- The Chinese Football Association has postponed domestic matches, with the Chinese Super League supposed to start on 22 February.
- Asian Champions League fixtures involving Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG have been rescheduled.
- Sydney will now host an Asian Olympics women’s qualifying tournament between Australia, China, Taiwan and Thailand, which had already been moved from Wuhan to Nanjing.
- The Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group I event which was due to be held in Dongguan, China has been cancalled after Kazakhstan refused to host it.
- The Chinese Formula E Grand Prix in Sanya on 21 March has been cancelled.
- Amman in Jordan is set to host the Asia and Oceania International Olympic Committee boxing qualifiers instead of Wuhan.
- The China Open in Beijing has been called off.
- The FIS World Cup in Yanqing, China, on 15-16 February 15/16 has been cancelled.
- The Women’s basketball Olympics qualifiers have been switched from Foshan in China to Belgrade, Serbia.
India women’s hockey tour of China has been cancelled.
- The FIH Hockey Pro League matches between Australia and China, set to be played on March 14 and 15 in Chengdu, have been put on hold.
- The China Masters in Hainan has been cancelled after several players pulled out of the competition.
Author: Sunita Patel-Carstairs