Formula E has postponed the Sanya Eprix which was scheduled to take place on March 21 as China struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The number of people who have died from the coronavirus in China has risen to 304, while China reported Saturday that the total number of cases is now over 14,000.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled the virus a global emergency, a move that has prompted Formula E to cancel its event on Hainan Island as it takes the “appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates should the situation improve”.
“In view of the continued spread of coronavirus and after close consultation with the relevant departments of Hainan Province and Sanya Municipal Government, Formula E – together with the FIA, the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of People’s Republic of China (CAMF), and regional partner Enova Holdings – have jointly decided not to race in Sanya on the scheduled date of March 21, 2020,” read a statement released by the FIA on Sunday.
“Given the current growing health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus an international emergency, Formula E has taken the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of its travelling staff, championship participants and spectators, which remains of paramount importance.
“We are working closely with our regional partner and the local authorities in Hainan Province and Sanya Municipal Government, to continue monitoring the situation as it develops.
“All parties will take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates should the situation improve.”
Formula E’s precautionary measure – coupled with widespread travel restrictions to Chine – will certainly pressure Formula 1 to ramp up its scrutiny of events in the country which is scheduled to host its Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 19.
Liberty Media has yet to comment on the unfolding of events, but the FIA published earlier this week a statement in which it said it was monitoring the situation in China with all the “relevant authorities”.