Bahrain and China could be potentially asked to stage two races on consecutive weekends should the global coronavirus pandemic continue to disrupt events in the Americas.
Although Formula 1 has only released the initial phase of its delayed 2020 calendar that includes eight European rounds, it is believed that the curtain will fall on this year’s championship in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in December. Formula 1 plans to arrange races in Russia and the Americas following the Italian Grand Prix, albeit the situation casts doubts over the feasibility of races in Canada, Brazil, the United States and Mexico.
The sport is considering hosting races in new venues with Portimao, Hockenheim, Imola and Mugello being in the frame while it is also possible that the Bahrain International Circuit will be asked to stage two races in order to establish a comprehensive calendar for 2020.
Sheikh Salman confirmed to Autosport that Formula 1 had approached the Bahrain track with the idea of hosting two races on consecutive weekends.
"They did say a while ago: 'Would you be open to running more than one race if we had issues in finding alternatives?'
"That's the only thing I've had officially from F1. That was pretty early on, when they were trying to finalize the European races. So we said we can look into that,” he is quoted as saying by Autosport.
Although the coronavirus originated from China, the situation had improved thanks to strict measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus. The Chinese Grand Prix was the first to be postponed, but neither the sport nor the race promoter gave up on the event.
In a conversation with Shanghai People’s Radio Station on Monday, Sports Bureau Director Xu Bin has revealed that Formula 1’s Commercial Rights Holder is weighing up plans to arrange two rounds at the track that made its debut in 2004.
“F1 has announced they will resume the opening eight European races, without a round in Asia. The event originally scheduled has been postponed to the second half of the year.”
“FOM asked whether we could host two races in Shanghai in the discussion. It’s not been decided. It will depend on the pandemic situation.”