Coronavirus: What's the latest for F1 and 2020 season?
The races called off so far, what the 2020 season might look like, and how the world of F1 is reacting
By Matt Morlidge and James Galloway
Last Updated: 24/03/20 2:45pm
The coronavirus outbreak has seen sporting events across the globe cancelled or postponed - including Formula 1. Here's all you need to know about its impact so far, what has been said, what the drivers are up to, and more...
Which races have been called off?
Eight - so far. All systems were go for the season-opening Australian GP - despite criticism from Lewis Hamilton - but it was then cancelled after it was confirmed that a McLaren team member had contracted coronavirus just hours before practice was due to start in Melbourne.
That cancellation was understandably followed by the postponement of the following weekend's Bahrain GP, and the inaugural Vietnam GP on April 5. The Chinese GP, set for April 19, was postponed last month.
A second tranche of races at what was supposed to be the start of the European season in May were the next to be affected - including the world-famous Monaco GP. The Monte Carlo street race - F1's showpiece event - has been cancelled, while the returning Dutch GP at Zandvoort and the Spanish GP at Barcelona have been delayed.
The Azerbaijan GP, set for June 7, then became the eighth race to be called off.
So when could the season start?
In truth, nobody knows at the moment. And it could stay that way for some time.
The postponement or cancellation of the scheduled first eight events leaves the Canadian GP as a very provisional season-opener on June 14.
But F1 are understandably not divulging any contingency calendar plans at this stage, simply saying they will start the campaign as "soon as it's safe to do so" with officials monitoring the fast-changing global situation.
"Between Formula 1, the teams and the FIA, working with our key stakeholders, we are planning and fully committed to returning to the track at the earliest opportunity to commence the 2020 season," said F1 chairman Chase Carey.
"We're confident we'll all get through this and see better days, ahead, and, when we do, we will ensure that everyone invested in this sport at every level feels rewarded."
How long could the season be?
Carey added that F1 remain optimistic of holding a 15-18 race championship starting in the summer, despite the various confirmed postponements - and the prospect of more.
"We recognise there is significant potential for additional postponements in currently scheduled events, nonetheless we and our partners fully expect the season to start at some point this summer, with a revised calendar of between 15-18 races," he said.
"It is not possible to provide a more specific calendar now due to the fluidity of the current situation but we expect to gain clearer insights to the situation in each of our host countries, as well as the issues related to travel to these countries, in the coming month."
Carey also signalled that the campaign will extend beyond its current end point of November 29.
What else has F1 done so far?
F1's stakeholders have already moved to bring the usual mandatory mid-August shutdown period forward to March and April - with all teams required to shut down their factories for a period of 21 consecutive days during this period.
Ferrari, whose Maranello headquarters had already been closed anyway owing to the situation in Italy, have naturally initiated this three-week period immediately, as have AlphaTauri. Other teams who remain operational have selected different start dates - for instance, Red Bull will close on March 27 and Renault on March 30.
F1 managing director Ross Brawn indicated in an interview with Sky Sports F1 in wake of the Melbourne cancellation that a restarted season could run through August - something which is now possible with the shutdown regulation change.
"I think by freeing up the August break, we give ourselves several weekends where we can have a race," Brawn stated.
Brawn added that F1 are considering two-day weekends so that the events and shorter and triple headers could then be feasible.
What about 2021?
With the new season on an indefinite hold, and the teams' factories not in operation during the three-week shutdowns, F1's big 2021 regulation changes have been delayed until 2022.
On cost grounds, it has also been decided that the 2020 chassis - yet to be raced this year - will be used again in 2021, with further possibilities to freeze development in other areas.
What are the drivers up to?
Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz revealed they both undertook a period of isolation after the Australian GP, although neither has reported any coronavirus symptoms despite coming into contacted with those affected. The whole grid are understandably trying to continue the training that got them into shape for the new season, while the F1 virtual Esports series was an instant hit with drivers Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi taking part.
When will we hear more about F1 2020?
It's unclear when we'll get more information, but stay up to date with all the latest news on Sky Sports F1's digital and social platforms.