Asia’s F1 races at risk

SHANGHAI, 4 February 2020: As major sports events scheduled for China in March move to other countries the next casualty could be the F1 China Grand Prix that is currently scheduled for 19 April in Shanghai.

Another F1 race, the inaugural Hanoi F1 GP, scheduled for 3 to 5 April on an inner-city circuit in the capital, could also come under scrutiny if the virus outbreak escalates in Southeast Asia. Vietnam shares a land border with China and the nearest town of Nanning is 385 km from Hanoi.  

The organisers in Shanghai and Hanoi said they have not been contacted about any date changes.

However, medical experts said last week they were not optimistic’ about the 2020 China GP based on the continuing rise in cases, the cancellation of airline flights to China and the reduction of train services in between major cities in  China. 

According to the website, “the last time a scheduled F1 race did not go ahead for anything other than contractual reasons was in 2011 when the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix was postponed and later cancelled for security reasons after a month-long protest in the capital was forcibly suppressed.”

While the epicentre of the virus in Wuhan and Hubei province is 800   km from the Shanghai’s F1 track, confirmed cases are rising daily (currently around 17,500) with the spread extending to all Chinese provinces.

RaceFans noted that the virus has already had an impact on other international sports. The International Ski Federation has cancelled the downhill and super-G races which were due to take place on February 15th and 16th in Yanqing.

The World Indoor Athletics Championship in Nanjing, which was scheduled for 13 March to 15th, has been postponed by a year. China’s General Administration of Sport issued a directive last week that provisionally cancels all sporting activities until April.