All-electric racing series Formula E has canceled an upcoming race in China due to the recent coronavirus outbreak, according to the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the series’ governing body.
“Given the current growing health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus an international emergency, Formula E has taken the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of its travelling staff, championship participants and spectators, which remains of paramount importance,” the FIA said in a statement released late Sunday.
The FIA said it’s working with Formula E and local governments to “study the viability of potential alternative dates should the situation improve,” meaning a makeup date isn’t fully out of the question. The race was originally supposed to be run on March 21st in Sanya, an island city in Hainan province.
China has always been an important part of Formula E. The young racing series’ inaugural race in September 2014 took place in Beijing, and Formula E also kicked off its second season in 2015 with a race in the capital city. Formula E returned to China during its fifth season after striking a deal to race on the streets of Sanya, and has raced there since. Formula E has also featured a number of Chinese teams and drivers in its half-decade of operation. The driver who won the first Formula E drivers’ championship in season one did so while racing for the series’ first Chinese team. And last season, Chinese team Techeetah won both the drivers’ and teams’ championships.
The recent coronavirus outbreak started in China at the end of 2019. Since then, there have been over 362 deaths and 17,000 confirmed cases, the majority of which are in China. The outbreak has caused all sorts of disruptions, ranging from the Chinese government’s lockdown of multiple cities near the epicenter of the outbreak, to the US government’s recent refusal to admit foreign nationals who’ve traveled to China within the last two weeks.