CORONAVIRUS has decimated the start of the Formula One season with 1 races now being confirmed as cancelled or postponed.
Formula One was looking ahead to a fine campaign when the world of sport was brought to a halt in March.
What races have been affected due to coronavirus?
The Australian Grand Prix was cancelled after McLaren went into self-isolation and Lewis Hamilton complained about the race going ahead.
While the Chinese Grand Prix was postponed in mid-February with the Shanghai circuit located just 500 miles from Wuhan – where the coronavirus outbreak began.
F1 bosses have insisted that they will try to find room for it in the calendar for the rest of the year, but with 22 races scheduled, this could be unlikely.
The inaugural Vietnam GP has now also been cancelled, despite attempts to keep it on the original date of April 5. But with the Hanoi track being just 100 miles from the border of China, it was always unlikely to go ahead.
Related: It’s official: Vietnam Grand Prix postponed over coronavirus fear
The second race of the season – Bahrain – was also postponed, having initially been set to take place behind closed doors.
The Government of Bahrain had already revealed any foreign nationals who have visited Italy, Singapore and Hong Kong – among others – in the 14 days prior to traveling to Bahrain were not allowed entry.
This was putting any teams traveling to Singapore and Hong Kong on their way to Australia in doubt, along with the two Italian teams.
It was revealed on March 19 that the Monaco, Dutch and Spanish GP’s had all been scrapped, with the race in Azerbaijan following on March 23.
The Canadian Grand Prix then fell on April 8.
On April 27 the French Grand Prix (originally set for June 28) was officially cancelled because of the country’s ban on major events until mid-July.
When will the season start?
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With the first ten races already cancelled, the FIA says it expects the 2020 season to begin “as soon as it is safe to do so after May”.
F1 chairman and chief executive officer Chase Carey said: “There was full support for the plans to reschedule as many of the postponed races as possible as soon as it is safe to do so.
“F1 and the FIA will now work to finalise a revised 2020 calendar and will consult with the teams, but as agreed at the meeting the revised calendar will not require their formal approval.
“This will give us the necessary flexibility to agree revised timings with affected race promoters and to be ready to start racing at the right moment.
“Formula 1 remains fully committed to launching a 2020 season as soon as possible.”
Formula 1’s latest plan to get the 2020 season off the ground is to hold the Austrian Grand Prix as scheduled followed by two races at Silverstone.
Due to easing of lockdown restrictions in Austria those dates of July 3-5 look possible for an event held behind closed doors.
It could then be followed by two races at Silverstone around July 19 also without fans.
This tentative plan was outlined to teams by F1 bosses at a meeting on Thursday April 16 where proposals to reduce the sport’s budget cap to $130m (£104.6m) by 2022 were also discussed.
Stuart Pringle, the circuit’s managing director, confirmed the plans saying: “We have discussed all sorts of permutations including hosting two races over one weekend and two races over consecutive weekends.
“I have complete confidence in our ability to put on these events. We have a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge, we can turn that on definitely.”
Reporting by Adam Storer @ The Sun
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