MUNICH – The Chinese Grand Prix could be held late in the season if the race scheduled for April 19 has to be postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to Formula One managing director Ross Brawn.
"I think, if there is a probability it doesn’t happen in April, it will be postponed," Brawn told media including motorsport.com in a report published on Thursday.
"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."
Brawn said it was unlikely to hold the race after the November 22 season-ender in Abu Dhabi because of team concerns, or to swap dates with another race later in the season.
F1 is back in Asia for the September 20 race in Singapore and the October 11 grand prix in Japan but owing to logistics it will be very difficult to slot in an extra race.
Brawn said a final decision on the China race is expected soon.
"We’re waiting for the Chinese promoter and authorities to make the final decision, which I think they will. They have cancelled all the public events in March. So no public sporting events or activities," he said.
"So it is a tragic and very difficult situation. I think it’ll become clear in the next week or two what’s going to happen."
Chinese authorities said Thursday that 563 people have died of the virus since the December outbreak, with 28,018 confirmed infected.
Sports events in China, including the Formula E Grand Prix and world indoor athletics championships, have been postponed. Others, especially Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifiers in several sports, have been moved to other countries.