The 2020 Formula 1 season will not start until at least June after a trio of events in the Netherlands, Spain and Monaco were postponed on Thursday.
The outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has disrupted the sporting schedule, with Formula 1 and the wider motorsport scene severely affected.
Formula 1 travelled to Australia for the season-opening grand prix but cancelled the event two hours before the start of the planned first practice session.
It subsequently postponed events in Bahrain and Vietnam, joining China on the list, and on Thursday announced that May’s trio of grands prix will no longer take place as scheduled.
“In view of the continued global spread of COVID-19 and after ongoing discussions with Formula 1 and the three promoters, it has today been confirmed that the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix 2020, Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix 2020 and Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix 2020 will be postponed,” read a statement jointly issued by Formula 1 and the FIA.
“Due to the ongoing and fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation globally, the FIA, Formula 1 and the three promoters have taken these decisions in order to ensure the health and safety of the travelling staff, championship participants and fans, which remains our primary concern.
“The FIA and Formula 1 continue to work closely with affected promoters and local authorities to monitor the situation and take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates for each Grand Prix later in the year should the situation improve.
“The FIA and Formula 1 expect to begin the 2020 Championship season as soon as it is safe to do so after May and will continue to regularly monitor the ongoing COVID-19 situation.”
It means that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, scheduled for June 7, is provisionally slated as the first round of 2020.