F1 chiefs make decision on opening three races of season amid coronavirus fears


Formula One’s curtain-raiser in Australia next month will not be axed despite fears over the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

F1 chiefs have already been forced to cancel the Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled to take place in Shanghai on April 19, due to the outbreak.

And the spread of the virus in northern Italy, where Ferrari and the Alpha Tauri team are based, has led to growing concerns over whether the new season will be further affected.

But Victoria’s sports minister has confirmed that the 2020 season opener will take place at Melbourne’s Albert Park on March 15.

“Melbourne is the only city in the world to host a Formula One race and a Grand Slam tennis tournament, and we look forward to the Grand Prix celebrating 25 years at Albert Park on March 15,” said Martin Pakula.

And in a further boost to F1, Vietnam’s first-ever F1 race will also go ahead as planned on April 5.

F1 chief executive Chase Carey has said that “all systems are go” and he plans to visit Hanoi immediately after the Australian GP.

“The Vietnam Grand Prix will take place on April 5 in Hanoi. And to anticipate another question, we do plan to proceed with the race,” he said.

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