Coronavirus: Chinese GP postponed as impact on auto industry grows

CHASE CAREY Formula One Group chief executive officer and executive chairman on a one-off race replacing the Chinese GP

The Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for April 19 has been postponed because of the "continued spread" of the deadly coronavirus, motorsport's governing body FIA announced Wednesday.

The FIA and Formula One said in a statement that they had jointly chose to postpone the race, which was scheduled for April 19 at the Shanghai International Circuit.

It would be the latest, but easily most high-profile, sports event to fall victim to the virus outbreak which has killed more than 1,100 people in China, where it emerged at the end of previous year.

"The FIA and F1 continue to work closely with the teams, promoter, CAMF and local authorities to monitor the situation".

The Chinese Grand Prix has been postponed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens could follow suit.

"But we don't know what it will be in a week or two".

FIA added: "The Chinese Grand Prix has always been an important part of the F1 calendar with many passionate fans".

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Hosting fees also make up a significant portion of Formula One's revenues, with some races paying as much as $40 million a year.

The last time a race was postponed was 2011, when the Bahrain Grand Prix was affected by the Arab Spring uprisings.

Vietnam's government said it would not allow the country to host sporting events in February, meaning home AFC Cup group stage matches for Ho Chi Minh City and Than Quang Ninh will have to be switched to away fixtures.

The only triple-header in F1 history took place in 2018, when the Austrian, French and British Grand Prix where held in the space of 14 days.

The teams reportedly said no. "We like the 22-race calendar (but) we're fine with a 21-race calendar".

Other virus-enforced cancellations or postponements range from soccer and Olympic qualifying events to golf tournaments.

The Tokyo Olympics open on July 24 and organisers have repeatedly said the games will not be cancelled or postponed. But many Olympic qualifying events are in disarray, with Chinese athletes not free to travel outside the country to participate.

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