The outbreak of the infamous Coronavirus and its swift spread across Europe and Asia might affect the first rounds of the 2020 F1 season. After the postponement of the Chinese GP, doubts arise over the races in Australia, Bahrain and Vietnam, which are scheduled in March and April. As previously announced, the FIA is closely monitoring the situation and further meetings are taking place later this week.
Australia is currently pondering the option of closing the gates to travellers from Italy and Japan, two among the most affected countries. Considering the high amount of personnel from the aforementioned countries, such a precautional measure from the Australian government would eventually cause delays or detriment to the F1 race. For instance, Honda already ran for cover by deciding to have their engineers fly to the UK instead of going back to Japan before the inaugural race of the season.
As for Bahrain, the authorities blocked all flight connections from/to Dubai for 48 hours starting from Tuesday. While it may sound as a minor issue, this is already causing problems to F2 and F3 testing preparations, as the two feeder categories have their testing sessions scheduled from March 1st to March 3rd. Adding fuel to the fire, Bahrain is currently plagued by swarms of locusts devastating crops coming all the way in Africa. Multiple issues are therefore threatening the racing weekend at Sakhir, which is set to be held on Sunday, March 22nd.
Due to its proximity to the outbreak areas of the Coronavirus, Vietnam might be forced to put its inaugural F1 race on hold. Although the organisers are adamant that the event is taking place on schedule, further concerns emerged despite the fact that the number of infected subjects stalled at 16.
With the Grand Prix taking place and no precautional bans, people from Italy and Japan will be let into the country, which may increase the chances of infection.
Time is running out and we are about to face a couple of crucial days to either confirm or twist the 2020 F1 calendar.