Paris: Formula One's season was thrown into turmoil Friday with the Australian Grand Prix cancelled just hours before cars were due to hit the track, and races in Vietnam and Bahrain subsequently called off as well as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll.
The decisions follow the postponement last month of April's Chinese Grand Prix, leaving motorsport chiefs scrambling to revise the calendar and proposing the end of May as a potential start date for the season."The global situation regarding COVID-19 is fluid and very difficult to predict and it's right we take time to assess the situation and make the right decisions," F1 chief Chase Carey said in a statement.
"We are taking this decision with the FIA and our promoters to ensure the safety of everyone involved in Formula 1 and our fans."
Formula One and the FIA, world motorsport's governing body, said they "expect to begin the Championship in Europe at the end of May but given the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Europe in recent days, this will be regularly reviewed."
The Dutch Grand Prix is the next race on calendar, although its scheduled May 3 date will be pushed back. The Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona was planned for the following week.