F1 postpones Chinese GP because of coronavirus fears
The Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for April 19 has been postponed because of the "continued spread" of the coronavirus, motorsport's governing body FIA announced Wednesday.
FIA said promotors of the Shanghai race had requested a postponement "in view of the continued spread of novel coronavirus", now named COVID-19.
"As a result of continued health concerns and with the @WHO (World Health Organisation) declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, the FIA and @F1 Formula 1 have taken these measures in order to ensure the health and safety of the travelling staff, championship participants and fans."
The Shanghai race, the fourth of the new season, becomes the latest -- but easily the most high-profile -- sports event to fall victim to the virus outbreak which has killed more than 1100 people in China, where it emerged at the end of last year.
"The FIA and @F1 continue to work closely with the teams, promoter, CAMF and local authorities to monitor the situation," FIA said.
"All parties will take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates later in the year should the situation improve."
FIA added: "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.
"The global situation regarding this virus will continue to be monitored by the FIA with regard to other motor sport events."
The postponement of the Shanghai race also throws into doubt the inaugural race in Vietnam, which takes place two weeks before but where there have also been cases of COVID-19.