F1: FIA 'monitoring' Chinese Grand Prix amid coronavirus outbreak
Top three finishers Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel on the podium after placing first, second and third respectively in the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit in 2019 (Photo credit: Stringer/Anadolu Agency, Getty Images)

The Chinese Grand Prix is currently scheduled for 19-21 April, however F1’s governing body, the FIA, have said in a statement that they would, “evaluate the calendar of its forthcoming races and take any action required to help protect the global motorsport community and the wider public.”

The statement said, “Following the coronavirus epidemic that broke out in China at the beginning of the year, the FIA is closely monitoring the evolving situation with relevant authorities and its members clubs, under the direction of FIA Medical Commission President, Professor Gerard Saillant.”

Postponement or cancellation a possibility

The first race of the 2020 F1 season is set to commence on 15 March for the Australian GP, one month prior to the current date set for the fourth round of the world championship at the Chinese GP.

Potential outcomes could include the race weekend being postponed or even cancelled. The most recent grand prix to face cancellation was the Bahrain GP in 2011 which was called off amid Middle Eastern protests.

The Chinese GP based in Shanghai is 500 miles from the centre of the outbreak in Wuhan, whilst Sanya which is set to host the Formula E series on 21 March is 300 miles away.

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Other sporting events cancelled

Other sporting organisations have faced similar dilemmas since the coronavirus outbreak in China, with events such as the World Athletics Indoor Championships previously set to be held on 13 March, being postponed for a year, whilst the World Cup skiing in China has recently been announced as cancelled.

Since the outbreak there have been around 7711 recorded cases of the coronavirus, with the death toll having risen to 170 and the infection has spread to as many as 15 other countries.

Earlier this week the UK Foreign Office warned against all non-essential travel to China.