Formula 1 has confirmed that it will seek a new date for the Chinese GP if it’s postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The authorities in Shanghai have recommended that all sporting events are cancelled until the rapidly-spreading virus has been brought under control, meaning the Chinese GP’s April slot is under threat.
The series is now waiting on the decision of the race promoter, but even though F1 is already set for a record 22-race season, managing director Ross Brawn has confirmed that efforts will be made to find a new date for the Chinese Grand Prix if it’s postponed.
“I think, if there is a probability it doesn’t happen in April, it will be postponed,” he told Motorsport.com.
“We will leave open the opportunity to see if the race can run later in the year. China is an enthusiastic, growing market. So we’d like to have a race in China.”
But Brawn has ruled out the idea of China swapping dates with another race on the calendar.
“We probably wouldn’t do that,” he said. “We will just try to find a window of when the race could happen towards the end of the year.
“It looks very difficult. We’re waiting for the Chinese promoter and authorities to make the final decision, which I think they will. They have cancelled all the public events in March. So no public sporting events or activities.
“So it is a tragic and very difficult situation. I think it’ll become clear in the next week or two what’s going to happen.”
And Brawn named what he feels are the two deadlines for when China must make a decision.
“There’s two logistical deadlines,” he confirmed.
“One is when all the sea freight goes which is this week, or next week. So the things like fuel and so on go on a ship. But that’s not disastrous if that shifts and has to be brought back.
“Then we get into the physically putting people over there. That’s a big challenge with people going there to prepare for the race. That’s a critical stage. And that will happen in two or three weeks time. I think that’s the point at which really you have to say what the situation is.”