(CNN) The 2020 Chinese Grand Prix has been postponed due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Formula One announced on Wednesday.
The decision to cancel the race weekend in Shanghai, which was scheduled for April 17-19, was taken jointly by F1 and the sports governing body, the FIA, after the Juss Sports Group — the Chinese Grand Prix promoter – officially requested its postponement.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency.
“The Chinese Grand Prix has always been a very important part of the F1 calendar and the fans are always incredible,” F1 said in a statement. “We all look forward to racing in China as soon as possible and wish everyone in the country the best during this difficult time.”
According to the WHO, more than 43,000 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in 28 countries and territories around the world, with the death toll this week exceeding 1,000.
Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, has been quarantined to prevent further spread of the illness.
Race organizers say they will continue to monitor the situation to assess the possibility of rescheduling the race for a later date.
The cancellation means there will be a four-week break in the middle of the F1 calendar.
The inaugural Vietnamese Grand Prix takes place in early April and without Shanghai, there won’t be another race until the return of the Dutch Grand Prix at the beginning of May.
The China race has been held at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai since the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix in 2004.
“The FIA and Formula 1 will continue to work closely with the teams, race promoter, the Motorcycle Sports of People’s Republic of China and the local authorities to monitor the situation as it develops,” added the F1 statement.
“All parties will take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates for the Grand Prix later in the year should the situation improve.”
The Shanghai race isn’t the first motorsport event in China affected by coronavirus; the Formula E race due to be held March 21 in Sanya, China has also been canceled.
Meanwhile, Chinese Formula E driver Ma Qinghua has been quarantined ahead of the Mexico ePrix.
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