The Azerbaijan Grand Prix has become the latest fixture to be pulled from Formula One’s schedule.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the impact coronavirus has had on the new season.
What’s definitely been cancelled?
Organisers of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix have taken the decision to postpone the 2020 race due to the global spread of Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/o5cKQb2obY
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 23, 2020
The season-opening Australian Grand Prix was called off just 90 minutes before first practice after a McLaren mechanic contracted coronavirus. McLaren subsequently withdrew from the event before F1 bosses called the race off. The event will not be rescheduled. The prestigious Monaco Grand Prix, which had been pencilled in for May 24, will not take place either.
Which events have been postponed and until when?
— Automobile Club MC (@ACM_Media) March 19, 2020
In addition to the cancellation of the races in Australia and Monaco, the rounds in Bahrain (March 22), Vietnam (April 5), China (April 19), Holland (May 3), Spain (May 10) and Azerbaijan (June 7) have all been postponed. Race promoters are in dialogue with F1 to try and find new dates in a rejigged calendar. It is understood that the Dutch Grand Prix – the first in Holland for 35 years – could be moved to August. It is uncertain whether there will be room in a revised schedule for the races in Bahrain and Spain.
What’s likely to go soon?
Just a quick message to share a few thoughts on the Dutch GP which has been postponed unfortunately 😢 I am really impressed with the work that has been done so far by everyone involved 💪🏻 I hope to be driving the challening new track @circuitzandvoort again soon 🚀 #DutchGP #KeepPushing
A post shared by Max Verstappen (@maxverstappen1) on Mar 22, 2020 at 5:56am PDT
The Canadian Grand Prix (June 14) looks vulnerable following the country’s stance on withdrawing from the Olympics. Indeed, all the rounds before the now-scrapped summer break – France (June 28), Austria (July 5), Britain (July 19) and Hungary (August 2) could all be called off. The summer break, which traditionally takes place in August, has been brought forward to March and April in a bid to load the second half of the year with as many races as possible.
Is anything likely to remain on in 2020?
✍️A letter from our Managing Director, Stuart Pringle.
— Silverstone (@SilverstoneUK) March 20, 2020
The sport’s bosses are hopeful of putting together a calendar which would represent a season. Speaking on Monday, F1 chief executive Chase Carey says the target is to stage between 15 to 18 of the scheduled 22 races. Shorter weekends – which would see Friday practice removed from the timetable – have been mooted. The season is also set to be pushed back until December – and quite possibly the early part of next year, too. Under FIA regulations, a minimum of eight grands prix must be staged to constitute a world championship.
Where does the sport go from here?
The first #VirtualGP was a 𝘀𝗺𝗮𝘀𝗵 hit 💥
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 23, 2020
The sport and its teams rely heavily on income from staging races across the globe so they are keen on salvaging as many of the postponed rounds as they can. While Monaco pays a minimal amount to stage its famous race, Azerbaijan’s fee is understood to be around £40million-a year. In the meantime, the sport will stage virtual grands prix in place of the races which have been suspended thus far.