Santiago E-Prix postponed due to COVID-19 crisis

The first round of the 2021 Formula E season in Santiago has been postponed less than a month before it was due to take place.

Santiago E-Prix postponed due to COVID-19 crisis
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The double-header event in the capital city of Chile was originally scheduled for 16-17 January at the O'Higgins Park venue.

But FE issued a brief statement on social media on Tuesday evening announcing that the date has now been delayed, and that the championship was working to reschedule the races for later in the first quarter of 2021.

The statement read: "In consultation with the Santiago municipality, the Santiago E-Prix has been postponed.

"The races will no longer take place as a double-header on January 16 and 17 and we are working with the city to finalise dates on which to stage the races later in Q1 of 2021."

This has resulted from the rapid spread of the new strain of the coronavirus identified in Britain.

With five teams - Envision Virgin Racing, Mahindra Racing, Mercedes, NIO 333 and Jaguar Racing - based in the UK, team staff will not be able to travel to the event.

A statement provided to Motorsport.com added: "Due to recent news about Chile temporarily closing its borders with the United Kingdom, in conjunction with the Municipality of Santiago we have agreed to postpone the Santiago E-Prix 2021.

"The double date of January 16 and 17 will not take place.

"Instead, we are working with the city to pin down the dates on which the races will be held later in the first quarter of the year.

"We will officially announce these new dates as part of our January calendar update, when we also confirm the second batch of races for the 2020/21 calendar.

This is the latest major calendar setback for Formula E.

Championship organisers and the FIA issued a full 2020-21 calendar back in June, but that was later retracted.

This followed the postponement of the Mexico (13 February) and Sanya E-Prix (13 March).

To keep disruption to a minimum and in the hope of allowing spectators back into grandstands as local restrictions ease, events will instead be announced in batches.

Only the curtain-raising Saudi Arabia and Chile double-headers were concrete, with more definite dates expected in January.

When the calendar was revealed in June, Santiago's prominence as the season-opener had been unexpected.

The 2020 Santiago E-Prix was thought to have been the last race in the city as local elections were scheduled to be held after this latest calendar was announced.

It was anticipated that should a new administration come to power, there would be insufficient time to agree a deal for a 2020-21 race in time.

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