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Red flagged: Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix officially postponed amid coronavirus fears

Red flagged: Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix officially postponed amid coronavirus fears
The Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix has officially been postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus in the region, which has claimed the lives of over 1,000 people in recent weeks.

The FIA, the governing body of Formula 1, accepted a request from Chinese race organizers to indefinitely postpone the event to ensure "the health and safety of drivers" amid the spread of the virus, which has been detected in all regions in the country, as well as several other countries across the globe.

Also on rt.com Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix expected to be axed as coronavirus outbreak impacts sporting fixtures

An official statement confirmed the race's postponement, and stated that all parties will make efforts to determine a potential future date for the race.

"The Chinese Grand Prix has long been an important part of the F1 calendar with many passionate fans," the statement reads.

"The FIA F1 community looks forward to racing in China as soon as possible and wishes everyone in the country the best during this difficult time."

It is the first time a Formula 1 race has been postponed in nine years, with the cancellation of the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix due to the Arab Spring protests being the most recent example of a race postponement.

Despite the FIA's assertion that the Chinese Grand Prix will be rescheduled as soon as possible, some observers maintain that it will be incredibly difficult to squeeze a rearranged race into an already packed 2020 race schedule.

A similar statement about rescheduling was made for the Bahrain GP in 2011, but the race was eventually scrapped after teams were unable to agree on a new date.

News of the axed race comes just days after the Shanghai Sports General Association called for most major sports to be suspended until the spread of the virus has been brought under control. 

Also on rt.com Shanghai shutdown: Chinese city to suspend ALL sports events as coronavirus fears increase

The virus has already led to the cancellation of several sporting events in the region, including next month's World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing.

The virus is also understood to be threatening the first-ever Vietnamese Grand Prix, which is set to take place in April. The race's location, Hanoi, is just 100 miles away from the Chinese border.

Meanwhile, Olympic organizers are said to be "seriously concerned" about the spread of the virus ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in July and August.

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