Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that his team, and himself, are moving forward with their logistical preparations for next April’s Chinese Grand Prix despite the current coronavirus threat.
The novel virus is still spreading in mainland China, with 40,235 confirmed coronavirus cases and 909 deaths in the country as of Monday morning.
Many foreign countries have implemented travel restriction to China while several International sporting events have been cancelled in the country, including a round of the FIA Formula E championship which was scheduled to take place at Sanya on March 21.
Formula 1 is attentive to the alarming situation and is mulling contingency plans in the event of a postponement of its race in Shanghai.
But for now, the Chinese Grand Prix is still officially a go, leaving teams with no other choice but to proceed with their normal preparations.
“In terms of China, Formula E was cancelled,” said Wolff, speaking at Mercedes’ sponsorship event with new partner INEOS which took place in London on Monday.
“They are about [four] weeks I believe before us, and they cancelled last week. So, I would very much hope that we go to China.
“After this I’m going to the Chinese embassy for my biometric scan. At the moment everything looks like we are going to China.”
Wolff said that a cancellation of the event in Shanghai would be a blow for F1 and for the local fans given the race’s popular success.
“Not going would be a shame,” he added. We had full grandstands last year, it was sold out.
“China starts to become a really important market in terms of the fan followership, we have great activities in Shanghai around the race, and not going there would obviously not be great for the fans and ourselves.
“But health comes first, and I hope that they get in control of that. That’s the bigger priority.”