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Coronavirus could threaten Chinese GP and Formula E races (4th Update)
No room in calendar to reschedule Chinese GP
UPDATE (GMM) British newspapers claim that China's Formula 1 race, currently scheduled for April, will be called off within the next 24 hours.
F1's authorities were already "monitoring" the alarming situation with the coronavirus epidemic, and the FIA has now issued a new statement.
"The FIA will evaluate the calendar of its forthcoming races and, if necessary, take any action required to help protect the global motorsport community and the wider public," it reads.
Subsequently, multiple authoritative media sources claim that the decision to at least postpone F1's Shanghai round has now been taken, with an announcement due in one or two days.
"From a sporting point of view, it would be bad to lose a grand prix," Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto told Sky Italia at the launch of the team's 2020 car on Tuesday. "It is always nice to go to China.
"Having a month without races is also not good for Formula 1."
It is expected that F1 will officially announce the race's postponement on Thursday or Friday, but Binotto acknowledged that rescheduling it amid the sport's longest ever calendar will be difficult.
"Putting it later will be difficult, given that it is a very dense calendar - we already have seven back-to-back pairs of races. That period would then become very difficult (if China is rescheduled)," Binotto added.
02/05/20 (GMM) China's grand prix in April looks set to be scrapped completely.
At least 560 people have now died of the coronavirus, whose epicentre is the city of Wuhan which is about 800 kilometres from Formula 1 host Shanghai International Circuit.
F1's strategy group met to discuss the coronavirus situation on Wednesday, but the discussions look to have been largely unnecessary.
That is because the Shanghai Sports Federation has now recommended the city suspends "all sports events until the epidemic is over".
02/03/20 (GMM) F1 appears poised to delay April's Chinese GP.
The sport's governing FIA has announced that the Formula E race in the coronavirus-struck country, scheduled for 21 March, has been cancelled.
"Formula E has taken the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of its traveling staff, championship participants and spectators, which remains of paramount importance," a statement read.
The FIA and the Formula 1 organisation had already announced that they are "monitoring" the worsening situation surrounding the epidemic, which has already claimed at least 360 lives.
"The organizers in Shanghai are trying to exchange their race date with Russia, which is due to take place on September 27," reported Speed Week correspondent Agnes Carlier.
She said the Russian automobile federation is yet to receive the request formally.
The FIA said: "The FIA evaluate the calendar of its forthcoming races and, if necessary, take any action required to help protect the global motorsport community and the wider public."
Removing the dead bodies
02/02/20 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. The 2020 Sanya Formula E race has been officially postponed as a result of China's coronavirus outbreak.
Formula E has not announced an alternative date for the race as it is taking the "appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates should the situation improve", per a statement announcing the postponement.
The full statement reads: "In view of the continued spread of coronavirus and after close consultation with the relevant departments of Hainan Province and Sanya Municipal Government, Formula E - together with the FIA, the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of People's Republic of China (CAMF), and regional partner Enova Holdings - have jointly decided not to race in Sanya on the scheduled date of March 21, 2020.
"Given the current growing health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus an international emergency, Formula E has taken the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of its traveling staff, championship participants and spectators, which remains of paramount importance.
"We are working closely with our regional partner and the local authorities in Hainan Province and Sanya Municipal Government, to continue monitoring the situation as it develops.
"All parties will take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates should the situation improve."
The second edition of the race was scheduled for March 21 and its cancellation leaves another lengthy gap in the calendar between the Marrakesh E-Prix on Feb. 29 and Rome E-Prix on April 4.
The cancellation proves beneficial for a number of drivers in the paddock who faced clashes with the FIA World Endurance Championship’s 1000 Miles of Sebring on the same weekend.
A clash would have affected Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, James Calado and Antonio Felix da Costa, all of whom race in both series and each had their own deals in place for prioritization of one race.
01/24/20 (GMM) A dark cloud has moved above April's running of the Chinese GP and March's running of the Formula E race in Sanya
Over 878 cases of the coronavirus, which has killed 26 people so far, have been detected in China.
As a result, the country is quarantining entire cities and China's automobile federation has even banned "all sports competitions until April".
The federation said the ban is "part of efforts to prevent and control the outbreak" of the deadly and quickly mutating virus.
Official reports said 15 medical staff in Wuhan had been infected, but two sources with direct knowledge of the situation said the number of infected doctors and nurses was much higher.
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