The 2020 French Grand Prix has become the latest victim of the novel coronavirus outbreak after its organisation confirmed the cancellation of this year’s F1 race at Le Castellet on Monday.
The organisers of the French Grand Prix have announced on Monday that the 2020 event could not go ahead after the latest restrictions imposed by the French government. The event which made its return to the Grand Prix calendar in 2018 was scheduled for June 28.
President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron announced earlier that the country extends the ban on major events until at least the middle of July. In light of the decision, the closure of the Schengen area is maintained unter further notice, making it impossible for the Promoter to stage the race in the original date.
Eric Boullier, Managing Director of the Grand Prix de France stated that the decision means the cancellation of the event with the Promoter of the French Grand Prix already putting its focus on the 2021 race.
"Given the evolution of the situation linked to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the French Grand Prix takes note of the decisions announced by the French State making it impossible to maintain our event. The eyes of the GIP Grand Prix de France - Le Castellet are already turning towards the summer of 2021 in order to offer our spectators an even more original event in the heart of the Southern Region,” he said.
After the Australian Grand Prix was called off just hours before the first free practice session was due to begin, the sport has cancelled or postponed the following nine grands prix in light of the current health crisis. Due to the specific requirements of the events, the Australian and the Monaco Grands Prix have been cancelled with the race in France suffering the same fate.
The seven other events – the Bahrain, the Chinese, the Vietnamese, Dutch, Spanish, the Azerbaijan and the Canadian Grands Prix – could make an appearance in the massively overhauled 2020 calendar if the situation improves and alternative dates can be found.
Formula 1 CEO and Chairman Chase Carey said that he accepted the decision of the French Grand Prix Organisation given the travel restrictions and ban on mass gatherings in the country.
„We have been in close contact with the French promoter during this evolving situation and while it is disappointing for our fans and the F1 community that the French Grand Prix will not take place we fully support the decision taken by the French authorities in France and look forward to being back at Paul Ricard soon.”