In 2019, Shanghai hosted the 1000th Formula One Grand Prix event and now with an ever-growing fan base and the success of Guanyu Zhou coming through the ranks in the lower divisions whilst also remaining as a Renault F1 Test Driver – all eyes were on 2020. However, following an outbreak of the coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, many have been speculating that the 2020 Chinese F1 Grand Prix will be delayed or even cancelled but, at present, much evidence points to this as nothing more than wild speculation.
The reason that such discussions have been generated amongst fans is due to the fact that on Thursday January 23rd, the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of People's Republic of China (CAMF) issued a statement explaining that the scheduled rallying event planned from February 12th to February 14th would no longer be taking place. The CAMF statement read:
“As part of efforts to prevent and control the outbreak of a new type of coronavirus, in accordance with the instruction from the General Administration of Sport 'On Suspending All Sports Competitions Until April,' the organizing committee has decided to temporarily cancel a car rally in Changbaishan, scheduled for February 12-14."
Following the mention of ‘April’, F1 fans have been calling into question whether the Shanghai F1 Grand Prix scheduled for 17th to 19th April would take place. However, even before this event, Formula E has their event scheduled in Sanya, China for the weekend of March 20th and 21st and those organsisers have been very vocal that this will go ahead as planned - as revealed in the publication Motorsport Week:
“The uncertainty stemmed from an incorrect statement issued locally in China, which published wrong and misleading information and has since been removed. Nevertheless, given the current health concerns, we are continuing to closely monitor the situation as it develops on a daily basis.”
Herein lies the most important fact – no one knows what the future holds and all speculation of any event whether Formula One or Formula E being cancelled is exactly that – wild speculation with no hard facts.
Unfortunately, the facts that are known with relation to the outbreak of the Coronavirus is that to date there have been almost 2000 reported cases and this has involved over 40 fatalities. Herein is the crux of the matter, whether these motor racing events go ahead as planned or not it is simply a sport and definitely not a matter of life and death. Some fans may be out of pocket if they had pre-booked flights and tickets; others may be disappointed to not have the chance to witness their heroes navigating race-tracks.
However, the real heroes are the doctors and nurses working round the clock to reassure citizens, cure citizens and in many cases save the lives of citizens. Those men and women who spent their Chinese New Year Celebrations in quarantined cities handling these outbreaks.
Those are the only headlines that anyone should be bothered reading about and those are the only heroes who should be celebrated.