Formula One's Chinese Grand Prix has been put on hold indefinitely as Coronavirus quarantine restrictions have forced changes to the race series' 2021 calendar.
The second Formula 1 race to be postponed from the season schedule, the postponement of the Shanghai race, scheduled for 11th April, comes as a result of the Chinese Government enforcing a 14-day quarantine for international arrivals.
With F1’s busy schedule not allowing lengthy quarantine periods, the race will now go ahead at a later date if the pandemic is brought under control.
However, with F1’s 23-race season calendar having few gaps, fitting in the Chinese Grand Prix may prove problematic.
Last year’s race in Shanghai was the first to be scrapped following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a further 12 races eventually being cancelled through the 2020 season.
Yibin Yang, General Manager of race promoter Juss Event, told local media last week “we aim to swap it to the second half of the year, and we have formally submitted the request that we hope to move it to the second half of the year.”
When announcing its longest ever season, F1 had hoped that its own biosphere-based protocols which it operated through its much-changed 2020 season would be acceptable to race hosting nations.
However, Chinese authorities, and those in Victoria, have not amended their quarantine regimes.
China has not hosted any international sporting events since the outbreak of COVID-19, and in recent weeks has already cancelled the planned Sanya Formula E race, 6th Asian Beach Games and the World Athletics Indoor Championships – due to have been held in the city of Nanjing from 13th to 15th March.
As to when the Shanghai Grand Prix will be held, Yang added “to move it to the second half of the year, it depends on the plan of the (Shanghai) city government.
“If we put all international events to the second half of the year, it will be over the capacity for the city. To host any event successively requires the mass public recourses, such as police and health departments.”
With China the source of COVID-19s, its authorities remains vigilant in implementing restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus.
F1’s plan was to hold 23 races this year.
Bahrain will now host the first race on 28th March.
Image: Action from the F1 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.
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