The Canadian Grand Prix has become the latest Formula 1 event in 2020 to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 virus has caused worldwide disruption and uncertainty, with Formula 1 among the leading sports to have been severely impacted.
It had already postponed six of its planned opening eight events (Bahrain, Vietnam, China, Netherlands, Spain and Azerbaijan), with Australia and Monaco cancelled outright.
It left mid-June’s round at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as the first event yet to be affected but that has now also fallen by the wayside, with promoters making the call on Tuesday.
“We have been working closely with our friends at the Canadian Grand Prix over the past few weeks and support them in taking this necessary decision to ensure the safety of fans and the F1 community,” said F1 CEO Chase Carey.
“We always look forward to travelling to the incredible city of Montreal and while we will all have to wait a bit longer, we will put on a great show when we arrive later this year.”
It leaves the French Grand Prix, currently set for June 28, as the opening round of 2020 for the moment.
However France remains under a strict lockdown, with residents not allowed to travel more than one kilometre from their homes, unless they have prior approval.
France is currently scheduled as the first of a back-to-back event with Austria, prior to the British Grand Prix in mid-July.
Austria is set to be the first European country to ease lockdown restrictions this week though public events until the end of June remain suspended.
Formula 1 has already responded to the crisis by scrapping its planned August break, shifting it to April and extending it by a week, in order to free up the period should the global situation improve.
Should government restrictions remain in place the three-week shutdown, which now covers engine manufacturers as well, could be extended further.
The proposed new regulations will no longer be introduced in 2021 while the current chassis will be used again next year as part of cost-saving measures.
The budget cap will still be introduced and could be reduced to $150m – with some teams pushing for a further reduction – in order to deal with the crisis.
McLaren, Racing Point, Williams and Formula 1 itself have publicly confirmed that some of their staff have been furloughed, meaning 80 per cent of salaries – up to £2,500 per month – is covered by the UK government.