The F1 organisation is considering changing the date of the Chinese GP 2020
, currently scheduled for the 16th to the 19th of April, in an attempt to keep it in the calendar
The news was released by Formula 1
Managing Director Ross Brown
. The FIA (International Automobile Federation) Strategy Group came to a similar conclusion after meeting this Wednesday to discuss that very same issue.
“I think, if there is a probability it doesn’t happen in April, it will be postponed. 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.” –declared Brawn to the online news outlet Motorsport.com.
Time is running out to decide the fate of the race
According to Brown, F1 bosses are still waiting for a final decision from race promoters and the Chinese authorities. The Executive Director has also set a three-week time limit and two different phases in which decisions have to be made and measures taken.
The first logistic deadline is coming up in seven days, which is when the sea freight carrying all of the necessary equipment for the celebration of the GP, including the fuel, is due to depart for China.
The ships, however, could make their way back with their cargo in the event of the race being cancelled midway there. The other more critical deadline will be in two to three weeks’ time, which is when most of the personnel and staff will be traveling to the country.
A quarantine in Shanghai would be the end of the Chinese GP
Wednesday’s FIA meeting came just hours after the Shanghai Sports Federation, city in which the GP is due to take place, announced that they were banning the celebration of any sporting competition or any other public event until the virus was eradicated from the city. The same official body declared that “the race will not take place in April”.
With these measures, the Chinese authorities are attempting to stop the spreading of a virus which has already infected over 28.000 people and caused 563 deaths. Before this challenging situation it is understandable for the 4th race in the calendar to still be very much in the air.
Since the World Health Organisation declared the new virus an international medical emergency due to the accelerating rate at which it was spreading, this has become an issue affecting many travel and trade decision and international sporting events are no exception.
Alternative dates for the race
The tight schedule of the World Formula 1 Championship, with 22 races in total, doesn’t allow for a great deal of flexibility as far as dates are concerned.
The initial suggestion of swapping the Chinese and the Russian dates has been rejected by the later, making things even more complicated.
In reality, the only three alternatives left are to either delay the GP for about six months or just deleting it altogether from the 2020 calendar.
If the authorities opt to delay it, the race could take place on the 4th of October, a week before the Japanese GP. The downside to this option, however, is that it would mean having a total of four GPs in a row Singapore (20th of September), Russia (27th of September), China (4th of October) and Japan (11th of October).
Another alternative could be to move the Chinese GP to the 18th of October, seven days after the Suzuka GP. It would however mean a considerable logistical effort in the part of the team’s, who would have to move their whole entourage from Asia to the USA, on the other side of the world, for the Texas GP on the 23rd of October.
Images of Chinese GP: F1.com