GP2/FIA F2

F1 postpones Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix has become the latest Formula 1 race to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The race was scheduled to be held on 7 June and it had been hoped that it would become the opening round of the season. It has now become the eighth race to be cancelled or postponed.

The season may now potentially begin with the Canadian Grand Prix on 14 June, but it is believed that this may also be in doubt.

The postponement will also affect the FIA Formula 2 championship, who are now unable to start their season until the Red Bull Ring on 4-5 July at the earliest.

The statement from the Baku City Circuit read: “Baku City Circuit (BCC) has today taken the decision to postpone the FORMULA 1 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX 2020 due to take place on June 5th – 7th.

“The postponement was agreed upon after extensive discussions with Formula 1 as well as the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the Government of the Azerbaijan Republic. This comes as a direct result of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and has been based entirely on the expert guidance provided to us by the relevant authorities.

“In coming to this conclusion, BCC’s primary concern throughout has been the health and well-being of the Azerbaijani people as well as all visiting F1 fans, staff and championship participants.

“BCC shares its fans disappointment at not being able to experience the pinnacle of motorsport race through the streets of Baku this June. To that end, we will continue to work closely with Formula 1, the FIA and the Government of the Azerbaijan Republic to monitor the situation with a view to announcing a new race date later in the 2020 season.

“All tickets for the FORMULA 1 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX 2020 will continue to be valid, without any additional formality. As soon as the new date of the Grand Prix is confirmed, all spectators will be informed accordingly about the available options, both for those who have purchased their tickets through the Baku City Circuit’s website (www.bakucitycircuit.com) and through other channels.

“The thoughts of everyone at Baku City Circuit during this challenging and unprecedented situation go out to all those directly and indirectly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We wish to thank all our supporters, customers and partners for your understanding and look forward to welcoming you back to Baku later in the year for more unpredictable, thrilling racing action at the Home of the Street Fighters.

“In the meantime, we ask you to stay safe and stay at home if you can.”

2020 Monaco Grand Prix cancelled

The Monaco Grand Prix will not feature on the Formula 1 calendar for the first time since 1954 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It was initially announced on Thursday by F1 and the FIA that the race would be postponed, but the Automobile Club de Monaco announced that “under no circumstances” could the race be held later in the year.

The news also affects the FIA Formula 2 championship, Formula Renault Eurocup and Porsche Supercup which forms the F1 support bill.

A statement from the ACM said: “The current situation concerning the worldwide pandemic and its unknown path of evolution, the lack of understanding as to the impact on the FIA F1 World Championship 2020, the uncertainty with regards to the participation of the teams, the consequences with regards to the differing measures of confinement as taken by various governments worldwide, the multi-border restrictions for accessing the Principality of Monaco, the pressure on all implicated businesses, their dedicated staff who are unable to undertake the necessary installations, the availability of the indispensable workforce and volunteers (more than 1500) required for the success of the event means that the situation is no longer tenable.

“As a result, and after careful consideration as to the gravity of this crisis worldwide, it is with great sadness that the AUTOMOBILE CLUB DE MONACO Board of Directors has taken the decision to cancel the 12th GRAND PRIX DE MONACO HISTORIQUE (8-10 May 2020) and the 78th GRAND PRIX DE MONACO FORMULA 1, FIA World Championship (21-24 May 2020).

“To all the fans, spectators, partners and our members, the Board of Directors wishes to express its sincere regrets that these two events cannot be postponed and under no circumstances, will it be possible to organise these events later this year.”

F1 postpones Dutch, Spanish and Monaco Grand Prix

Formula 1 has postponed the Dutch, Spanish and Monaco Grand Prix meaning the season will not commence until June at the earliest, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After the Chinese Grand Prix was postponed, the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled and F1 subsequently postponed its visits to Bahrain and Vietnam.

On Wednesday F1 and the FIA announced the early implementation of the summer break, which was also extended to three weeks.

The Dutch, Spanish and Monaco Grand Prix were due to take place on 3 May, 10 May and 24 May respectively.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix may now become the season opener on 7 June.

A statement from the FIA and F1 read: “In view of the continued global spread of COVID-19 and after ongoing discussions with Formula 1 and the three promoters, it has today been confirmed that the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix 2020, Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix 2020 and Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix 2020 will be postponed.

“Due to the ongoing and fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation globally, the FIA, Formula 1 and the three promoters have taken these decisions in order to ensure the health and safety of the travelling staff, championship participants and fans, which remains our primary concern.

“The FIA and Formula 1 continue to work closely with affected promoters and local authorities to monitor the situation and take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates for each Grand Prix later in the year should the situation improve.

“The FIA and Formula 1 expect to begin the 2020 Championship season as soon as it is safe to do so after May and will continue to regularly monitor the ongoing COVID-19 situation.”

The postponement will also affect the FIA Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 championships.

FIA F2 and F3 CEO Bruno Michel later announced the postponement of the testing scheduled for both championships.

“For the time being, all F2 and F3 track activities are on hold. This of course includes our April testing in Barcelona (F2) and in Budapest (F3), along with a two-day test in Barcelona at the end of May (also for F3).”

FIA Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 Bahrain races postponed

The FIA Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 races in Bahrain have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday Formula 1 and the FIA announced its postponement of the race, and now its support series has followed suit.

A statement from both championships read: “Following the announcement that the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix has been postponed, it has been decided conjointly with the FIA and F1 that the opening 2020 round of the FIA Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 Championships, scheduled to take place on March 20-22, will also be postponed.”

F2 and F3 CEO Bruno Michel said: “We’re sorry we have to postpone our opening Round at the Bahrain International Circuit, but of course the safety of everyone in our paddock and the fans has to come first.

“We conducted our pre-season tests at Sakhir and we’re looking forward to racing there as soon as possible.

“We will communicate a revised 2020 F2 and F3 calendar at a later date.”

F1 fans barred from attending Bahrain Grand Prix due to coronavirus fears

Organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix have barred Formula 1 fans from attending due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A statement released on Facebook by the Bahrain International Circuit read: “In consultation with our international partners and the Kingdom’s national health Taskforce, Bahrain has made the decision to hold this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix as a participants-only event.

“As an F1 host nation, balancing the welfare of supporters and race goers is a tremendous responsibility. Given the continued spread of Covid-19 globally, convening a major sporting event, which is open to the public and allows thousands of international travellers and local fans to interact in close proximity would not be the right thing to do at the present time.

“But to ensure that neither the sport, nor its global supporter base, is unduly impacted, the race weekend itself will still go ahead as a televised event.

“Bahrain’s own early actions to prevent, identify and isolate cases of individuals with Covid-19 has been extremely successful to date. The approach has involved rapid, proactive measures, identifying those affected by the virus, of which the overwhelming majority of cases relate to those travelling into the country by air.

“Aggressive social distancing measures have further increased the effectiveness of preventing the virus’ spread, something that would clearly be near impossible to maintain were the race to have proceeded as originally planned.

“We know how disappointed many will be by this news, especially for those planning to travel to the event, which has become a cornerstone event of the international F1 calendar, but safety has to remain our utmost priority.”

As well as Formula 1, the Bahrain Grand Prix will also see the opening rounds of the 2020 FIA Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 seasons.