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2020 Formula 1 season could now start in June

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Mar 13, 2020, 7:31 AM

Formula 1 could be looking at starting the 2020 season at Baku in June, Motorsport.com has learned, amid growing indications that coronavirus will disrupt events for months.

With the Australian Grand Prix having already been officially cancelled, the sport's chiefs are expected to confirm imminently that next weekend's Bahrain GP and the following event in Vietnam will now be postponed.

Sources have indicated that in the wake of the chaos in Melbourne, when a McLaren team member was diagnosed with coronavirus, a number of teams have already indicated that they will not be competing in Bahrain.

Vietnam's situation has also become untenable amid strict new travel restrictions that have been put in place as a result of the country's efforts to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak

But with growing indications that the global pandemic is only going to get worse in Europe over the next few weeks, F1 is now bracing itself for also calling off the Dutch, Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix.

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That could mean F1 waiting until the Baku Grand Prix on June 7 for its first race, as it then tries to slot in a reduced calender thereafter.

F1 CEO Chase Carey said in Melbourne on Friday that amid the fast developing coronavirus situation, the sport was set for some tough talks about its next steps.

"At this point our focus really is dealing with the issues this weekend," he said. "Clearly, I just came in from Vietnam, so we are in discussion with partners on the upcoming races.

"I think at this point what we really want to do is make sure we deal with the issues here, deal with them properly.

"But in the coming days, clearly we will be addressing the events yet to come. It's a pretty difficult situation to really predict – everybody uses the word fluid, it is obviously a fluid situation.

"The situation today is different than it was two days ago, which is different than it was four days ago. So trying to look out and make those sorts of predictions when it's changing this quickly is challenging."

Asked where F1 personnel should be booking tickets to next, Carey said: "Everybody wants an answer and we'd love to have an answer. I think you can't force an answer to something that right now you don't have an answer to.

"I think we just have to continue doing what we're doing, reaching out to everybody, every expert, we can around the world.

"Clearly we're a global sport. And therefore, you know, we're not just dealing with a single country issue, we're dealing with an array of complexities. But I think we have to continue to deal with those as the situation evolves."

 
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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble