2020 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix Postponed Due to Coronavirus Epidemic

The calendar shuffle will affect Ferrari's landmark 1,000th Grand Prix celebrations.

2019 Chinese Grand Prix, Sunday - LAT Images
Daimler AG—© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Earlier this month, fears about China's coronavirus outbreak forced Formula E to delay the Chinese E-Prix in Sanya. Wednesday morning, Formula 1 followed in the electric series' footsteps and announced the postponement of the 2020 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix.

Although new cases of coronavirus in China are reportedly slowing, unease about the deadly disease prompted the Chinese Grand Prix's promoter Juss Sports Group to request a rain check from F1 and its regulatory body the FIA. These two organizations granted the request, and on the weekend of April 19, F1 will have no presence in China.

The postponement does not necessarily mean cancellation, however, and it's still possible that China could stay on 2020's 22-race calendar, which now includes Vietnam. At least one Chinese racing journalist has suggested that the race could be rescheduled for late Summer or early Autumn, potentially for the weekend between Sept. 27's Russian Grand Prix and Oct. 10's Japanese Grand Prix.

Rescheduling the Chinese Grand Prix for Oct. 3 would likely be preferable for F1 teams, as it'd string together four consecutive race weekends rather than five if the race were scheduled for the open weekend between the Italian and Singapore Grands Prix. This time slot also makes more sense from a logistical perspective, as a detour to Shanghai en route from Sochi to Suzuka is shorter than it'd be between Monza and Singapore.

The 2020 Chinese Grand Prix's rescheduling also means that Scuderia Ferrari will celebrate its 1,000th Grand Prix entry not in Monaco, but Azerbaijan. It may sound like an anticlimactic place for Ferrari to celebrate its millesimo Gran Premio, but given Baku's tendency to produce chaotic races, it'll be the perfect place for the Scuderia to show that it is indeed back at the top of its game.

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