Uncertain Start for F1 Season Following a Spate of Race Postponements & Cancellations
Three months ago, no one would have imagined the whole world slowly shutting down. Fast forward to February when the coronavirus went full-blown in China, and it seems like we had it all wrong. As ill-luck would have it, the picture has completely changed now as systems all around the world have started crumbling.
The epidemic, now-turned pandemic, has spread all over the world, causing catastrophic effects in almost all fronts. The economic, social and even political ends among many others have been casualties to this global situation.
The virus found its way into sports, forcing the calling off of events and competitions one after the other worldwide. Formula One has not been spared. The 2020/2021 F1 season has been left in clutter after a series of postponements.
Australian Grand Prix
The opening race (Australian GP) was scheduled for last week but had to be cancelled two days before race day due to the fluid situation posed by the pandemic.
The cancellation followed after McLaren disclosed that a team member tested positive for the virus. McLaren announced that 14 more team members who were in close contact with their fellow infected driver had all been quarantined to contain the virus from spreading.
The decision to suspend the race was made in the morning hours of Friday, but it was not until 8 hours later before the announcement followed. During this period, some of the F1 drivers had already flown out of Melbourne.
Bahrain and Vietnam GP
The cancellation of the Australian GP set into motion a string of events that have eventually affected the rest of the season. The Bahrain Grand Prix initially scheduled for this weekend (22- 23 March) as a closed-door event was entirely put off following the decision made by F1 officials on that Friday morning.
The very first Vietnam Grand Prix, which was supposed to take place between 3rd and 5th was postponed as well.
Dutch and Spanish GP
The next events are the Dutch GP followed by the Spanish GP with only a week separating the two. This was going to be the first time for the Dutch to host the races again since 1985. However, it too had to be postponed.
On their end, Spanish GP organisers were weighing the available options regarding the race. They further announced that all events that had been set to take place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from next month were put off. The decision will also affect the World RX round that was scheduled for 17th and 19th next month.
2020 F1 Season Status of the Initial Races
As of the moment, the Formula 1 calendar for the first seven events looks like this.
|March 15||Australian GP||Called off|
|March 22||Bahrain GP||Put off|
|April 5||Vietnamese GP||Put off|
|April 19||Chinese GP||Put off|
|May 3||Dutch GP||Put off|
|May 10||Spanish GP||Put off|
|May 24||Monaco GP||Called off|
Will any more GPs get called off soon?
As of now, we can hardly give a definite answer yet. FIA officials are probably finding a way forward in this situation. The pandemic's fluid nature, however, makes it hard to come up with any decisions at this point.
With the season's first few races suspended, the bugging question hangs in the air: When will the season kick off again?
There are talks about starting the season by the end of May (at least per reports from Formula 1 and the FIA). Nonetheless, these are uncertain times. With the unrelenting pace that the contagion is spreading, postponement seems to be the order of the day.
What of the cancelled and postponed events?
Formula 1 and the FIA disclosed that they were in talks with Bahrain and Vietnam race organizers to evaluate the current coronavirus situation. There's a chance that the races will be rescheduled, depending on how the health situation improves in the next few months. Meanwhile, the Automobile Club de Monaco announced a few days ago that they are bowing out of the 2020 calendar, citing the current situation as untenable.
For the Chinese GP, officials agreed that if the corona situation improved, an alternative date will be set for the race, but that won't be happening until late in the year. Hang tight and keep checking our page for more updates in the automotive world and auto parts industry as soon as we get them.