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Coronavirus: Azerbaijan Grand Prix the latest F1 postponement

By Ben Spratt

Baku, March 23: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix has been postponed in a further delay to the start of the 2020 Formula One season.

It had been anticipated the June 7 event in Baku would be pushed back as the F1 calendar continues to be disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Races in Australia and Monaco have been cancelled altogether, while the Bahrain, Vietnamese, Chinese, Dutch and Spanish grands prix have also been postponed.

With the announcement on Monday from organisers that the Azerbaijan GP would not go ahead as scheduled, the first race of the campaign is now set to be in Montreal, Canada, on June 14.

A Baku City Circuit (BCC) statement read: "The postponement was agreed upon after extensive discussions with F1, as well as the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and the government of the Azerbaijan Republic.

"This comes as a direct result of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and has been based entirely on the expert guidance provided to us by the relevant authorities.

"In coming to this conclusion, BCC's primary concern throughout has been the health and well-being of the Azerbaijani people, as well as all visiting F1 fans, staff and championship participants.

"BCC shares its fans' disappointment at not being able to experience the pinnacle of motorsport racing through the streets of Baku this June.

"To that end, we will continue to work closely with F1, the FIA and the government of the Azerbaijan Republic to monitor the situation with a view to announcing a new race date later in the 2020 season."

The season-opening Australian race was called off after McLaren had pulled out of the grand prix when a member of their crew tested positive for coronavirus.

World champion Lewis Hamilton has since self-isolated after he was at an event where he came into contact with actor Idris Elba and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, both of whom have contracted the virus.

Hamilton said he has not developed any symptoms, though he was not tested due to the shortage of tests.

In the absence of the usual racing calendar, F1 launched the Virtual Grand Prix Series on Sunday.

Former One Direction singer Liam Payne represented Williams but finished comfortably last among the drivers to complete the Bahrain leg - won by Renault test driver Guanyu Zhou - of the Esports tournament.

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Story first published: Monday, March 23, 2020, 17:20 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 23, 2020
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