F1 officially postpones Chinese GP amid Coronavirus outbreak

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Formula 1 has officially opted to postpone April's Chinese Grand Prix due to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak.

The illness has already claimed over 1,100 lives since being discovered in the city of Wuhan last month and over 45,000 cases in China alone have been confirmed.

In Shanghai, where the F1 race is held, has reported 311 cases of the Coronavirus alone and after weeks of talks between F1 owners Liberty Media and local officials, the Grand Prix has now being called off.

"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 Chinese GP be postponed," a statement said on Wednesday.

"Formula 1, together with the FIA, have jointly decided to accept this official request from the promoter and postpone the Chinese GP 2020, originally scheduled for 19 April 2020.

"As a result of continued health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, Formula 1 and the FIA 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.

"Formula 1 and the FIA continue to work closely with the teams, race promoter, CAMF and the local authorities to monitor the situation as it develops. 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 Chinese Grand Prix has always been a very important part of the Fl calendar and the fans are always incredible. We all look forward to racing in China as soon as possible and wish everyone in the country the best during this difficult time."

Hopes of rearranging the race do seem grim, however, with teams already ruling out two dates, August 9 and November 22.

The issue facing F1 bosses is, given the already packed schedule, any new date would create a triple-header of GP's, something that was first done in Europe in 2018 but teams pledged to avoid doing again in the future.

To make this situation worse, any triple-header toward the end of the year would mean at least crisscrossing Asia, unlike the relatively short journeys between Austria, France and Britain two years ago.

The last F1 race to be postponed was the 2011 Bahrain GP due to unrest in the country and a new date was not found until the event returned in 2012.