Formula One has confirmed that the Chinese Grand Prix will be postponed following the outbreak of coronavirus.
The disease has claimed more than 1,000 lives in China, and it has been decided that the race, originally scheduled to take place in Shanghai on April 19, can no longer go ahead as planned.
The F1 race becomes the latest sporting event to be cancelled in China.
The sport’s governing body, the FIA, said it had accepted a request from the promoter of the Chinese race to postpone the event.
An FIA statement read: “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 One Chinese Grand Prix be postponed.
“The FIA, together with Formula One, have 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 One 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.”
F1’s hierarchy are still hopeful they will be able to reschedule the race for later in the season.
But with a record-breaking 22 grands prix – including the round in Shanghai – already on the calendar, switching the race to another date will be difficult.
The statement continued: “The FIA and Formula One 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.”