The Chinese Grand Prix is at risk of being cancelled as the coronavirus outbreak grows in China, with Formula E announcing that the Sanya ePrix will not go ahead.
A statement released by the electric championship said that the declaration of coronavirus as an international emergency meant the race had to be called off in the name of safety.
“In view of the continued spread of coronavirus and after close consultation with the relevant departments of Hainan Province and Sanya Municipal Government, Formula E – together with the FIA, the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of People’s Republic of China (CAMF), and regional partner Enova Holdings – have jointly decided not to race in Sanya on the scheduled date of March 21, 2020,” it said.
“Given the current growing health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus an international emergency, Formula E has taken the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of its travelling staff, championship participants and spectators, which remains of paramount importance.
“We are working closely with our regional partner and the local authorities in Hainan Province and Sanya Municipal Government, to continue monitoring the situation as it develops. All parties will take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates should the situation improve.”
The FIA has already said that “any action required” would be taken to protect the safety of the community and public against the threat of the virus, and in an earlier statement, said that the situation would continue to be monitored.
“Following the coronavirus epidemic that broke out in China at the beginning of the year, the FIA is closely monitoring the evolving situation with relevant authorities and its Member Clubs, under the direction of FIA Medical Commission President, Professor Gérard Saillant,” it said.
“The FIA will evaluate the calendar of its forthcoming races and, if necessary, take any action required to help protect the global motor sport community and the wider public.”
The Chinese Grand Prix is still scheduled to take place, but could follow the fate of the Sanya ePrix if China becomes increasingly isolated from international travel.
British Airways has already announced it has suspended flights to China, and the UK Foreign Office has advised against travel to the country unless essential.
Wuhan, the city the virus originated from, has been placed into lockdown with public transport to and from the city suspended.
Formula E was supposed to visit the island of Sanya for the sixth round of the 2019/20 season in March while the Chinese Grand Prix is currently still set to host round four of the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship in April.
Sanya is 1,700km South of ‘ground zero’ while the Shanghai International Circuit lays 800km East, though there have already been confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Shanghai.