The 2020 Formula 1 season continues to be delayed due to the global coronavirus crisis with the French Grand Prix becoming the latest race to be called off.

The COVID-19 pandemic had already forced the opening nine races of the 2020 F1 season to be postponed, with the French Grand Prix now the 10th round to be affected. 

It follows the French government’s extension to its ban on mass public gatherings until mid-July, which ultimately put the Paul Ricard race -  scheduled for June 28 - in jeopardy.  

French president Emmanuel Macron confirmed in a recent televised address to the nation that its lockdown would remain in place until May 11 and said that there would be no summer festivals “before mid-July”.

Other major sporting events in the country, such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and French Open tennis tournament, have already been shelved until September as France continues in its attempts to halt the spread of the disease. 

Race organisers confirmed the race could not go ahead on Monday, acknowledging the "impossibility" of maintaining hopes of staging the race. 

“Due to the statements of the President of the French Republic to ban large events until the middle of July to a minimum and to maintain the closure of the Schengen area until further notice, and recent decisions announced by the Government french to fight against the spread of the virus Covid-19, the GIP Grand Prix of France - Le Castellet acknowledges the impossibility of maintaining the Grand Prix de France Formula 1 on 28 June," a statement read. 

“The health and safety of its viewers, partners and all stakeholders in Formula 1 is a priority. GIP Grand Prix of France - Le Castellet supports the decisions taken by the French Government.”

F1 hopes to get the 2020 season underway with the Austrian Grand Prix behind closed doors on July 5 after Austria became one of the first European countries to begin to ease its lockdown restrictions. 

The latest proposal to get the campaign off the ground includes following up the Spielberg race with multiple races at Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix. 

Silverstone confirmed on Monday that this year’s British Grand Prix would be a behind closed doors race, if it can take place at all. It is looking increasingly likely that all European races that occur in 2020 could do so without spectators.

Ross Brawn, F1’s managing director, believes holding up to 18 races is possible providing racing can begin in July, and remains confident a viable world championship - which requires eight races - can be staged even if the first round did not take place until October. 

Among the solutions being considered, Brawn added that the season could stretch into January next year to accommodate more events if needed. 

 

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