Formula 1 races could be cancelled due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
An F1 technical expert has claimed that due to the amount of international travel the races may become a victim of the illness.
And with the situation changing on a daily basis, other races could be axed, disrupting the championship.
The expert, who did not want to be named, said: “What reputation would F1 be left with if someone in the paddock contracts the virus and spreads it to more people, who then would transport it to other countries and impact those areas?
“F1 is such a huge operation – if one person got sick, then it is almost guaranteed that it would spread.
“When you have roughly 1500 people working at a race weekend in a very close space, that spells danger. Not to mention the many, many thousands that will come to watch the cars on the track.”
Already Bahrain, which will host the second round of the 2020 world championship from March 20 – 22, has decided it will be the first-ever race event in F1’s 70-year history to be held behind closed doors.
A statement regarding the current situation.https://t.co/H176pkLpu3
— Bahrain Int. Circuit (@BAH_Int_Circuit) March 8, 2020
Bahrain currently has less than 100 cases of the virus, which is a major difference to Italy, which has more than 7,000 cases, the fourth most confirmed reports of the virus.
Italy’s situation with the virus is a major worry for the sport, as the Ferrari and AlphaTauri teams are based there.
F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli is based Milan, while Brembo, the brake supplier for many of the teams, has its base located northeast of Milan in Curno.
The Italian Grand Prix is not held until September, so it is too far away to know how much the virus will impact the event.
Although Italy has the most cases in Europe, the numbers are on the rise in other regions of Europe.
The European leg of the season does not kick off until the opening week in May, and it is not known what impact the virus will have on the sport at that stage.
“It would really be a major disaster for F1 if it was forced to postpone races,” said veteran Dutch F1 journalist Danny Sosef.
“The problem is that the calendar is so dense, it is very, very difficult to slot postponed races into another part of the schedule.
“The circuits would lose money, fans would be angry because they are missing out on F1 action and the interest could fall away.
“It is all done in the hope of public safety, but things could unravel pretty quick for F1 if the situation isn’t managed properly.”
Doubts linger over the opening races of the season, however the first race of the year in Melbourne will take place as normal, with fans in attendance, from March 13 – 15.
Vietnam, which is set to host its first-ever F1 race this year in April, has stated that it is closely monitoring the situation, and has affirmed that it will react with necessary measures.