Managing director of Formula 1 Ross Brawn has revealed he is doubtful the Coronavirus outbreak will allow the Chinese Grand Prix to run in its scheduled April timeslot, but may still happen later in the season.
The virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has claimed 563 lives in the country, has already precipitated the cancellation or postponement of every major sporting event up until the end of March.
Scheduled to take place from April 17-19, Brawn told a group of select journalists on Thursday that F1 would likely be next.
“I think, if there is a probability it doesn’t happen in April, it will be postponed,” he said.
“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.”
“We’re waiting for the Chinese promoter and authorities to make the final decision, which I think they will.”
Should the race be moved, Brawn indicated it would not take place as part of a swap with another event.
“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 went on to state he expects a decision sometime this month, with logistical concerns necessitating it be delayed no further.
“There’s two logistical deadlines. One is when all the sea freight goes which is this week, or next week. So the 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 physically putting people over there.
“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 weeks time. I think that’s the point at which really you have to say what the situation is.”