F1 admit new Chinese GP date unlikely as attention turns to Vietnam

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Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey admits finding a new date for the Chinese Grand Prix will be difficult in 2020.

On Wednesday, F1 bosses accepted a request from promoters in Shanghai to postpone this year's race, initially set for April 19th, due to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak.

Given the importance of the Chinese market, however, Liberty Media are keen to reschedule but finding a suitable weekend is tough given the compact calendar later in the year.

“It’s challenging. We’ve started to wrestle with contingencies, but I think once you’re into the year with dates locked, it’s a pretty full schedule,” Carey told Motorsport.

“We value our Chinese partners, they’ve been good partners. We’ve had good growth in China, so certainly we’d like to maintain that.

“But the health and safety of people come first and there certainly would be challenges in fitting things into a schedule, moving other dates when they’ve had dates locked has complexities to it.

“We’re dealing with it. We haven’t really worked through all the possibilities, but I think there’ll be challenges to dealing with it.”

It was reported teams had already blocked two proposed dates, August 9 and November 22, and the issue facing Liberty is inserting China back into the current calendar would cause a repeat of the triple-header which didn't go down well in 2018.

Elsewhere, attention is also now turning to Vietnam, where the Coronavirus has led to a quarantine being implemented less than 30 miles from Hanoi, where the inaugural race is set to take place on April 5.

Officially, the FIA and race organisers are closely monitoring the situation with only 16 confirmed cases in the country, but given the close proximity to China, concerns are being raised about whether F1 should visit there too.

“I think we are certainly aware of the issue. The health and safety of our people is priority one,” Carey noted.

“Outside of China right now, from what we know, I think today in most places, it seems to be six, eight, 10 people.

“Nobody knows what it will be in a week or two, so it’s a tough thing to say what the situation is going to be in four weeks. I think you can only be on top of it and aware of it, stay in touch with people and deal with what arises as you know more.

“What we know today, it’s pretty limited outside China, but we don’t know what we don’t know," he concluded.