This year’s Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix – due to take place on the 19th of April – may be affected by the recent outbreak of coronavirus in the country.
The General Administration of Sport in China has has ordered its various sporting associations to give serious thought to cancelling any events scheduled before April, local media is reporting.
Although The F1 weekend falls outside of the period affected, it’s sufficiently close that it’s next in line should the situation worsen.
But whilst a car rally scheduled to take place in Changbaishan on February 12th has already fallen victim to China’s measures to contain the spreading of the virus, the Formula E race planned for 21st March remains unaffected at the time of writing.
A Formula E spokesperson told Autosport: “Given the current health concerns, we are continuing to closely monitor the situation as it develops on a daily basis.”
The coronavirus has now affected over 2000 people with over 50 fatalities reported.
The outbreak seems to have originated on the 31st December 2019 in Wuhan, in the East of China; a city now on lockdown.
Shanghai, the site of the Chinese Grand Prix, and one of China’s most populous cities, reported its first death today (Sunday), fuelling anxiety about the spread of the virus.
Both China and Liberty will be keen to avoid having to cancel the race and suffer the losses that would inevitably bring, both commercially and diplomatically, however, an influx (and then ‘outflux’ – is that a word? You know what I mean though? The opposite of influx) of tens of thousands of foreigners for a Grand Prix could have a significant impact on the global transmission of the disease that may take precedence over any desire to press ahead with the race.
However, with something on this scale, with the potential for loss of life that Coronavirus clearly has, then sport – as loathe as it might be to admit it – has to come second.