F1 could postpone Chinese GP amid coronavirus outbreak

Will the FIA cancel the Chinese Grand Prix? (1:43)

Laurence Edmondson says the decision to cancel the Chinese Grand Prix is a matter of safety. (1:43)

Formula One is open to the idea of postponing the Chinese Grand Prix to a later date if the outbreak of coronavirus means it cannot take place on April 19 as planned.

The spread of the virus within China has resulted in a long list of sporting events being canceled, postponed or relocated, including Formula E's race in Sanya that was due to take place on March 21. Further doubt was cast over the F1 race this week when the Shanghai Sports General Association called for all sporting bodies to suspend events until the threat of the outbreak is over and F1 met with teams on Wednesday to discuss the situation.

The decision on whether to postpone the race, which takes place in Jiading on the outskirts of Shanghai, currently rests with the local government and race promoter, Juss Event. Formula One's motorsport director Ross Brawn said he is expecting a decision within the next two weeks.

"We're waiting for the Chinese promoter and authorities to make the final decision, which I think they will," Brawn was quoted by Motorsport.com. "They have canceled all the public events in March. So no public sporting events or activities.

"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."

He added: "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."

Brawn ruled out a straight swap with another race on the calendar, but the congested schedule later in the year means there is not an obvious alternative date.

Although there is no official deadline for a decision, Brawn said the sport would need a definitive answer before team members arrive in the country to start preparations in two weeks' time.

"There's two logistical deadlines," he said. "One is when all the sea freight goes which is this week, or next week. So the things like fuel and so on go on a ship. But that's not disastrous if that shifts and has to be brought back.

"Then we get into physically putting people over there. That's a big challenge with people going there to prepare for the race. That's a critical stage. And that will happen in two or three weeks' time. I think that's the point at which you really have to say what the situation is."

Should the race be canceled, there will be a four-week break between the two brand new races on the 2020 calendar -- the Vietnam Grand Prix on April 5 and the returning Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort on May 3. However, apart from F1's summer break, which includes an enforced two-week shutdown at team factories, there are no multiple-weekend gaps between races for the Chinese Grand Prix to slot into.