Over 600 people have contracted the Wuhan coronavirus, and it has killed 17 people as of January 23rd. China is a massive international travel market with millions of people passing through its borders every year, and as a result of the virus’ ease of transfer the country is cancelling many large scale sporting events, including motorsport.
Early on Thursday the General Administration of Sport of China announced a suspension of “all sporting events and activities scheduled before April.” This report was also posted by the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of People’s Republic of China. The report was later removed by both parties, and allegedly the ban is no longer in effect.
As it stands, the Changbai Mountain Ice Rally (February 12-14) is the only event that has officially been cancelled. If the coronavirus continues to spread, thus extending the sports ban, Formula E’s Sanya EPrix scheduled for March 21st, and potentially the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for April 17-19th, could be axed from the lineup.
Inside Electric reached out to an FIA Formula E spokesperson, and received this response:
“As it stands, the race in Sanya on March 21 is still scheduled to go ahead as planned. The uncertainty stemmed from an incorrect statement issued locally in China, which published wrong and misleading information and has since been removed.
Given the current health concerns, we are continuing to closely monitor the situation as it develops on a daily basis. We have requested that our regional partner works together with the local motorsport federation, to liaise with the relevant authorities in Hainan province to further analyze and assess the situation and provide recommendations on preparations for the race.”
Obviously global health takes precedence over some silly motorsport races, and I hope that this terrifying virus is corralled and obliterated before it kills any more people. If the situation continues to worsen, there is far more to worry about than the potential economic cost of missing a couple of FIA race dates. Stay safe, everyone.