Azerbaijan Grand Prix postponed, now doubts surround Canadian race
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix has been postponed, pushing the provisional start date for the 2020 Formula 1 season to June 14 in Canada.
Originally cast as the eighth round of the 2020 season, the Azerbaijan event has become the eighth race to be postponed or cancelled as F1 officials, having been criticised for acting slowly in Australia, continue to show a more proactive attitude to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The statement confirms that talks were held between the race promoters, the FIA and F1 over the feasibility of holding the race at a time where it is impossible to second guess what the global health picture will look like in a week, let alone in three months' time.
With the Canadian GP in Montreal due to take place a week after the scheduled date for the Baku race, it appears to be only a matter of time before another announcement is forthcoming.
The official statement from the Baku City Circuit confirming the decision reads:
The postponement was agreed upon after extensive discussions with Formula 1 as well as the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the Government of the Azerbaijan Republic. This comes as a direct result of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and has been based entirely on the expert guidance provided to us by the relevant authorities.
In coming to this conclusion, BCC’s primary concern throughout has been the health and well-being of the Azerbaijani people as well as all visiting F1 fans, staff and championship participants.
BCC shares its fans' disappointment at not being able to experience the pinnacle of motorsport race through the streets of Baku this June. To that end, we will continue to work closely with Formula 1, the FIA and the Government of the Azerbaijan Republic to monitor the situation with a view to announcing a new race date later in the 2020 season.
All tickets for the FORMULA 1 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX 2020 will continue to be valid, without any additional formality. As soon as the new date of the Grand Prix is confirmed, all spectators will be informed accordingly about the available options, both for those who have purchased their tickets through the Baku City Circuit’s website (www.bakucitycircuit.com) and through other channels.
The thoughts of everyone at Baku City Circuit during this challenging and unprecedented situation go out to all those directly and indirectly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
We wish to thank all our supporters, customers and partners for your understanding and look forward to welcoming you back to Baku later in the year for more unpredictable, thrilling racing action at the Home of the Street Fighters.
In the meantime, we ask you to stay safe and stay at home if you can.
Canadian GP organisers, meanwhile, insist plans are ongoing for their race, although recognise they are subject to the changing global landscape.
A message on the GPCanada website reads: "The preparations for the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix 2020 slated in the Formula 1 World Championship for June 12,13 and 14 are going well and are following their course.
"This is a situation that we are constantly monitoring and that is evolving rapidly.
"Please note that we are in constant communication with members of Formula 1, the FIA and public authorities. Our priority remains to host a safe event for both spectators and personnel.
"Should the situation continue to evolve we will lean on the expertise of public health professionals and will keep you updated."
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