The 2020 Formula 1 season is just around the corner. All teams are buckling up for what is expected to be yet another exciting season. Six-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton will be back with Mercedes. He will be hoping to lift his seventh title and equal Michael Schumacher's record. All the teams are currently testing their new cars ahead of the 2020 season. That said, the current F1 2020 schedule could see a few races getting rescheduled following the coronavirus outburst.
Even before the start of the season, the news about the postponement of the F1 Chinese GP had already gathered pace due to the coronavirus outbreak. The spread of virus in Italy and Japan has only developed more concerns that the Grand Prixes in Australia, Bahrain and Vietnam could also be affected. On Wednesday, Ferrari announced the restriction of external access to its factory in Maranello.
Not only Ferrari, but the Alpha Tauri team (formerly Toro Rosso) are also based in Italy. There have been 322 cases of the coronavirus in northern Italy and 12 deaths have been reported so far. The Australian Grand Prix is traditionally the first race of the season. It is scheduled to take place in Melbourne on 15th March. Following the Australian GP, the next race will take place at the Bahrain GP on 22nd March. The Vietnam GP is set to take place in Hanoi on 5th April.
Earlier, in a statement, the FIA said that the decision was made after a joint request by the Chinese Grand Prix Promoter, Juss Sports Group, Shanghai Administration of Sports and the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of the People's Republic of China.
Andrew Westacott, the chief executive of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, said that they will take guidance from the chief medical officers in Australia. They will ultimately form the government. He also said that government and health officers will look at things medically and economically.
Le Ngoc Chi (Vietnam Grand Prix's chief executive) insisted the race was still on in Hanoi in 2020. They are monitoring the situation closely and will notify the media should there be any changes.
Even before the start of the season, Lewis Hamilton has already fired a warning to his rivals. He posted a picture on Instagram and wrote in the caption that he is going to be a machine this year. He said that he'll be on another level than ever before.