BH CORRESPONDENT, London: The fate of China’s Formula One racing event is in limbo following Shanghai-based Sports Federation’s advice that all planned events in the city should be suspended due to coronavirus outbreak. As a result, the venue awaits a decision from the race promoter who has the final say.
In light of the rapid spread of coronavirus around the globe, the official promoter of the Chinese Grand Prix has very little time to consider whether to cancel or continue with the event.
F1 managing director, Ross Brawn has said that the deadline by which time the sport’s body must take action is fast approaching. Officials are looking at alternatives for the event if it is rescheduled. “In this case we have two logistical deadlines,” said Brawn and added, “One is when all the sea freight goes which is this week, or next week. So things like fuel and so on go on a ship. But that’s not disastrous if that shifts and has to be brought back.
“Then we get into the physically putting people over there,” he continued. “That’s a big challenge with people going there to prepare for the race. That’s a critical stage. And that will happen in two or three week’s time. I think that’s the point at which really you have to say what the situation is.
“If there is a probability it doesn’t happen in April, it will be postponed,” he admitted. “We will leave open the opportunity to see if the race can run later in the year. China is an enthusiastic, growing market. So we’d like to have a race in China.”
When asked whether F1 organisers will swap China with another country, “We probably wouldn’t do that, we will just try to find a window of when the race could happen towards the end of the year,” Brawn reiterated.
A proposal of holding the F1 event during the mandatory summer break has already been rejected by the teams at a meeting of the Strategy Group. The proposed idea was to hold the event in between the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix.
Brawn admits it is easier said than done. “It looks very difficult,” he admitted. “We’re waiting for the Chinese promoter and authorities to make the final decision, which I think they will. They (Shanghai authorities) have cancelled all the public events in March. It is a tragic and very difficult situation. I think it’ll become clear in the next week or two what’s going to happen.”
With agency inputs