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Coronavirus cancels Chinese Grand Prix

FORMULA ONE yesterday confirmed that the Chinese Grand Prix will be postponed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

The disease has claimed more than 1,000 lives in China and it was decided yesterday that the race, originally scheduled to take place in Shanghai on April 19, can no longer go ahead as planned.

A statement by the sport’s governing body read: “The FIA, together with Formula One, have jointly decided to accept this official request from the promoter and postpone the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix.”

“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 that 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.

“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 statement said.

Speaking earlier on yesterday, F1 chief executive Chase Carey admitted that it will be hard to find a new date for the event.

Following the sport’s August summer break, nine races will take place in just 13 weeks.

Carey said: “Part of the challenge is that you don’t really know the timeframe [of the virus.]

“Clearly we have a busy calendar so it’s not easy to reschedule this late when essentially we are a month out from our first race of the season.

“We will work with our Chinese partners to try and see, when we know more, what options might exist.”

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