Following the news that this weekend's Australian Grand Prix had been cancelled by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), Formula 1 and the AGPC, we now have confirmation that the races set to be held in Sakhir and Hanoi have both been postponed in addition to the already postponed race in Shanghai by the authorities in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The 2020 Formula 1 season was all set to get underway this weekend in Melbourne but things changed when McLaren Racing confirmed a member of their team had tested positive for the Coronavirus, which has been called a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.
That prompted the Australian Grand Prix to be called off and cast doubts over the races in Bahrain and Vietnam while the situation in China was also being assessed even before teams had arrived at Albert Park for the race weekend.
Formula 1 and the FIA issued a joint statement in which they confirmed that while the races are postponed, they will monitor the situation as it develops to see if any alternative dates can be deemed viable to hold the races later on in the year.
Here is an excerpt from the statement,
"Following the announcement of the Australian Grand Prix’s cancellation this week and the ongoing and fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation globally, Formula 1, the FIA and the promoters have taken these decisions in order to ensure the health and safety of the travelling staff, championship participants and fans, which remains our primary concern."
"Formula 1 and the FIA continue to work closely with the race promoters in Bahrain and Vietnam and the local health authorities to monitor the situation and take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates for each Grand Prix later in the year should the situation improve.
"As a result, Formula 1 and the FIA expect to begin the Championship in Europe at the end of May but given the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Europe in recent days, this will be regularly reviewed."
While they have said that the season could start at the end of May in Europe, it remains to be seen whether that will actually come to fruition as several European nations have imposed travel bans and lockdowns to curb the spread of coronavirus.Published 13 Mar 2020, 18:55 IST