Formula E: China race called off amid coronavirus outbreak


Formula E: China race called off amid coronavirus outbreak

Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne won the 2019 Sanya E-Prix in China

2019-20 Formula E Championship
Dates: 22 November 2019-26 July 2020
Coverage: All races will be available live and free-to-air on BBC online platforms, with the Marrakesh E-Prix on 29 February and the Rome E-Prix on 4 April live on network channels.

The all-electric Formula E Championship has called off next month’s race in China amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The sixth race of the 2019-20 season was due to be held in Sanya – around 1,000 miles from the centre of the outbreak in Wuhan – on 21 March.

Series organisers acted after the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a global emergency.

Formula E said it was looking at the viability of postponing the event until a later date.

More than 300 people have died in the outbreak so far and more than 14,000 have been infected.

“Formula E has taken the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of its travelling staff, championship participants and spectators, which remains of paramount importance,” a statement read.

“We are working closely with our regional partner and the local authorities in Hainan Province and Sanya Municipal Government, to continue monitoring the situation as it develops. All parties will take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates should the situation improve.”

The move raises further questions about the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix, due to be held on 17-19 April in Shanghai, which is 500 miles from Wuhan.

Motorsport’s governing body the FIA has previously admitted the Chinese GP – the fourth scheduled race of this year’s World Championship – is at risk and says it is “closely monitoring the evolving situation with relevant authorities”.

F1 has a tendency to wait as long as possible before making decisions to call off a race, but the sport’s hand may be forced by the global situation in this case.

Last week, the British Foreign Office changed its travel advice to warn against all non-essential travel to China, and British Airways cancelled all its flights to the country’s mainland.

Countries have begun closing their borders to arrivals from China as officials work to control the spread of the virus.

The US and Australia are the latest countries to say they would deny entry to all foreign visitors who had recently been in China, after similar moves from Russia, Japan, Pakistan and Italy.

A number of sporting events have already been affected by the outbreak.

The World Indoor Athletics Championships and snooker’s Chinese Open have been postponed, World Cup skiing events and Olympic boxing qualifying events have been cancelled, and the women’s Olympic basketball qualifying event has been moved from China to Serbia.


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