French GP cancelled due to coronavirus; no F1 races until July at earliest

Jackie Stewart pays emotional tribute to Stirling Moss (1:01)

Sir Jackie Stewart describes how much his 'ultimate hero' Sir Stirling Moss will be missed. (1:01)

The French Grand Prix has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, meaning Formula One's season is unlikely to begin until July at the earliest.

Earlier this month the the country's president, Emmanuel Macron, said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic would likely extend France's ban on public events until mid-July. The Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France was due to host the race on June 28.

The Austrian Grand Prix on July 5 is the next feasible starting point of the year. The Red Bull Ring hopes to hold an event behind closed doors.

Originally it had been hoped Paul Ricard, which boasts 167 configurations and its own airstrip, could hold a behind-closed-doors race to kick off the season. However, given the amount of people required to hold an F1 race, organisers deemed this impossible.

Circuit boss Eric Boullier, the former team boss of McLaren, said: "Given the evolution of the situation linked to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the French Grand Prix takes note of the decisions announced by the French State making it impossible to maintain our event."

Boullier said attention has already turned to the circuit's 2021 race.

It is the 10th race to be either postponed or cancelled, with Formula One looking to repackage the postponed races into an 18- to 19-race calendar in the second half of the year.

How the F1 scheduled has been affected so far:

March 15: Australian GP (cancelled)
March 22: Bahrain GP (postponed)
April 3: Vietnam GP (postponed)
April 19: Chinese GP (postponed)
May 3: Dutch GP (postponed)
May 10: Spanish GP (postponed)
May 24: Monaco GP (cancelled)
June 7: Azerbaijan GP (postponed)
June 14: Canadian GP (postponed)
June 28: French GP (cancelled)

Austria recently eased its lockdown conditions by reopening thousands of shops and will consider reopening restaurants and hotels by mid-May if conditions allow. It was one of the first countries in Europe to follow the lead of neighbouring Italy to impose a lockdown on movement and now claims to have flattened the curve of new COVID-19 infections, making a July 5 season opener at Red Bull Ring possible.

However, F1 CEO Chase Carey has talked about a complete reorganisation of the calendar, which could mean existing race dates are changed to accommodate as many races as possible. Motorsport director Ross Brawn added that F1 is targeting a summer start in Europe and is open to the idea of holding the first few races behind closed doors with no fans in attendance.

Yet one of the main considerations will remain ease of travel between countries as F1's 10 teams and engine departments are based across five countries -- Great Britain, Italy, Switzerland, France and Japan -- and restrictions on any of them would create complications.