Formula One and the FIA are closely monitoring the situation in China, but where could the Chinese round of the World Championship fit in should the race be postponed following the outbreak of the Coronavirus?
At the time of writing, the death toll from the Coronavirus crisis in China has exceeded 300 and over 17,000 confirmed cases. As a response, the Chinese authorities put in place a ban of public gatherings, including sporting activities, which will be enforced until at least the end of March.
As a result, Formula E have already cancelled the Sanya ePrix, the race due to be held on March 21.
With the outbreak showing no signs of slowing down, two cases now being confirmed even in the United Kingdom, the FIA have said, "The FIA evaluate the calendar of its forthcoming races and, if necessary, take any action required to help protect the global motorsport community and the wider public."
The last Grand Prix to be cancelled completely was the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2011 as human rights protests dominated the headlines. Originally postponed with a view to returning later in the year, it was quickly decided that the Grand Prix would not take place at all that year.
The FIA will not be rushed into losing a Grand Prix from the record breaking 22-race season, but places to reinstate the race if it cannot take place are few and far between.
Reports in Speed Week suggest that a swap with the Russian Grand Prix in September is being considered as a possibility but, on top of Russian officials confirming that they are yet to receive a formal request, it would be very difficult to reschedule a race and sell tickets at this stage.
Looking through the calendar for a potential opportunity to return to China and two dates stand out as obvious candidates. These are the two weekends either side of the Japanese Grand Prix.
Either option would see a triple-header of Grand Prix for just the second time in Formula One history with either Russia, China and Japan or Japan, China and the USA.
The most likely of these options would appear to be the first option of 2-4 October, following on from the Russian Grand Prix. With the fan festival in the USA due to be held in the week leading to the Grand Prix a the Circuit of the Americas, it is unlikely that an extra race could be squeezed in there.
Given that Formula One will not be rushed into making a decision and will want to leave a postponement to the last possible moment unless forced by Chinese officials, it is unlikely that a decision will be made imminently.
Chinese Grand Prix cannot go ahead this year. Coronavirus is rife, who would want to go at the moment anyway.
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