The French Grand Prix has become the 10th race on the original 2020 F1 calendar to join the postponed or cancelled list.
The race at Paul Ricard, which was slated for June 26-28, was placed under serious doubt when the French government extended its ban on mass gatherings until the middle of July.
It has left race officials with no option but to cancel the race.
‘Following the declarations of the French president to ban major events until at least the middle of July, to keep the Schengen area closed until further notice and the recent decisions announced by the French government to fight against the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the GIP Grand Prix de France [at] Le Castellet takes note of the impossibility to maintain the Formula 1 Grand Prix de France on June 28, 2020,’ the promoter announced.
There were some back-up plans to follow in the footsteps of Silverstone and host an event behind closed doors, but Paul Ricard’s managing director, Eric Boullier, has said that will not be possible and the focus will now turn to the 2021 event.
“Given the evolution of the situation linked to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the French Grand Prix takes note of the decisions announced by the French State making it impossible to maintain our event,” he said.
“The eyes of the GIP Grand Prix de France [at] Le Castellet are already turning towards the summer of 2021 in order to offer our spectators an even more unprecedented event at the heart of the Region Sud.”
So France has joined Australia and Monaco on the cancelled list, while Bahrain, Vietnam, China, Spain, Netherlands, Azerbaijan and Canada are all currently classed as postponed.
The French Grand Prix’s cancellation paves the way for Austria to become the official 2020 season opener in July, who are ready to host a race behind closed doors.