MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. This year’s FIA Formula One Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled to run in Shanghai on April 17-19, has been postponed indefinitely due to the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country, the press service of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) announced on Wednesday.
"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," the FIA said in a statement.
"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," the statement continues.
The world’s governing body of automobile sports stated that it would continue its close work with the race promoter, F1 teams, the Chinese Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports and the local authorities in monitoring the developments of the situation with the coronavirus.
"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 FIA stated.
The last time when a Formula One Grand Prix race was postponed, was in 2011 in Bahrain due to mass protest rallies across the country at that time.
"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.
Earlier in the month, the management of FIA Formula E announced that it cancelled its Chinese race, which was scheduled to run in late March in the streets of Sanya. The city of Sanya is located some 700 kilometers away from Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated.
On December 31, 2019, the Chinese authorities reported to the World Health Organization about an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown etiology in Wuhan, an economic and industrial megalopolis with a population of 11 million.
The virus was identified on January 7 as 2019-nCoV. Apart from China, 28 other countries and territories, including Russia, have reported confirmed coronavirus cases.
The World Health Organization declared the new coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, characterizing it as an epidemic with multiple locations. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated on February 11 that the organization gave the novel coronavirus an official name of COVID-19.
According to the latest reports, over 45,200 cases of patients infected with the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in China and other countries. The virus’ death toll has now exceeded 1,110, yet more than 4,840 patients have recovered from the disease.