There are increasing doubts over whether the Chinese Grand Prix will go ahead due to spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The death toll is now over 100 and a reported 4,500 cases have been recorded across the world following confirmation that virus can be spread person to person.
British Airways has suspended all direct flights to and from mainland China, while the likes of Australia, Japan, the US and the EU are also repatriating citizens.
The World Indoor Athletics Championships in Nanjing, due to begin in March, is another major sporting event under threat with Team GB reportedly set to pull out of the competition completely.
There is an understanding that if the virus continues to spread at its current rate, then it is all-but guaranteed that there will be no Chinese Grand Prix this year.
“The virus is still spreading, there is no doubt about it,” Dr Sergio Brusin, a senior expert at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm, told The Guardian.
“There has been a huge increase of cases in China and more countries importing cases. We are seeing human to human transmission outside the area of Wuhan that can indicate that it will spread further.
“It is not going to be easy [for the race to go ahead].
“We are in for the long run. It is not something that is going to disappear next week, it will be quite a lot of work to contain.
“What happens between now and April is extremely difficult to predict but if the infection keeps on spreading at this pace I would not be optimistic at having an F1 ticket in my pocket.”
Formula 1 and FIA officials continue to monitor the situation with the Chinese Grand Prix currently scheduled for April 19.