Formula 1 could consider starting the 2020 season in Baku in June, Autosport has learned, as growing indications are that the coronavirus will disrupt events for months.
The Australian Grand Prix having already been officially canceled, the leaders of this sport should soon confirm that the Bahrain GP next weekend and the following event in Vietnam will now be postponed.
Sources said that in the wake of the chaos in Melbourne, when a member of the McLaren team was diagnosed with a coronavirus, a number of teams have already indicated that they will not participate in Bahrain.
The situation in Vietnam has also become unsustainable amid new strict travel restrictions that have been put in place as a result of the country’s efforts to try to contain the coronavirus epidemic
But with growing indications that the global pandemic will only get worse in Europe over the next few weeks, F1 is preparing to have canceled the Dutch, Spanish and Monaco Grand Prix too.
This could mean that F1 is waiting for the Baku Grand Prix on June 7 for its first race, when it then tries to insert a reduced schedule afterwards.
F1 CEO Chase Carey said in Melbourne on Friday that against the backdrop of rapid coronavirus development, the sport was ready for tough discussions about its next steps.
“At this point, we are really focusing on the issues this weekend,” he said.
“Obviously, I have just returned from Vietnam, so we are in discussions with partners on the upcoming races.
“I think at this point what we really want to do is make sure we fix the problems here, fix them properly.
“But in the next few days, we will be clearly addressing the events to come.
“It is a fairly difficult situation to predict – everyone uses the word fluid, it is obviously a fluid situation.
“The situation today is different from what it was two days ago, which is different from what it was four days ago.
“So it’s hard to try to be careful and make these kinds of predictions when it changes quickly.”
When asked where F1 staff should book tickets for the next one, Carey said, “Everyone wants an answer and we would like an answer.
“I think you cannot force a response to something to which you have no response at this time.
“I think we just have to keep doing what we do, reach out to everyone, to all the experts we can around the world.
“Obviously, we are a world sport. And therefore, you know, we are not just dealing with a single country problem, we are dealing with a range of complexities.
“But I think we have to continue to deal with it as the situation evolves.”