The F1 Grand Prix in China looks set to be indefinitely postponed, with FIA chiefs set to discuss the cancellation of the April race, with the Vietnamese round of the championship also thought to be at risk.
The race, which is scheduled for April 19, looks certain to be the first Grand Prix to be postponed since 2011’s Bahrain Grand Prix, which was impacted by the Arab Spring protests at the time.
More than 40,000 cases of the coronavirus have been reported worldwide, with over 1,000 deaths being recorded in China to this point. The FIA said that they were “closely monitoring the evolving situation“.
“We recognize that the postponement of the event is certainly a possibility,” Formula 1 Group chief executive Chase Carey told Reuters.
“You could probably go even further and say a likelihood just given what seems to be transpiring.“
The race is scheduled to take place in Shanghai, just 500 miles from Wuhan – the initial source of the outbreak.
The first-ever Vietnamese Grand Prix, set for April 5, is also understood to be in danger of being canceled.
The scheduled race in Hanoi is just 100 miles from the Chinese border, with the latest figures suggesting that 15 people have been diagnosed with the illness in the region.
Formula 1 sporting director Ross Brawn admitted that the race is in danger, but said that efforts would be made to reschedule it before the end of the season, though doing so in an already packed F1 calendar may prove impossible. In the event of the race’s permanent cancellation, the promoter of the event would lose their race fee.