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Coronavirus: When will motorsport resume in 2020?

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Coronavirus: When will motorsport resume in 2020?
Mar 18, 2020, 12:23 AM

The global coronavirus pandemic has caused sporting events around the world to be postponed and cancelled, with Formula 1, Formula E and MotoGP among them.

Other series have also paused races in response to the coronavirus outbreak, as large public gatherings will inevitably increase the risk of transmission between hosts.

As series react to the ever-changing effects of the evolving COVID-19 situation, this page will be updated with cancellations and postponements should any more be forthcoming.

When will the 2020 Formula 1 season begin?

At this stage, it is currently unknown when the definitive first race of the 2020 F1 season will be.

As the coronavirus outbreak is widely regarded to have originated in the city of Wuhan, the Chinese Grand Prix was swiftly postponed in the interests of public health.

The Australian Grand Prix was cancelled on the Friday of its race weekend, after a McLaren team member had tested positive for coronavirus. Seven further members of the F1 paddock were also tested, but their results were found to be negative.

Australian Grand Prix Commission chairman Andrew Westacott has suggested that, despite the official cancellation, the race could be rescheduled for later in the year.

The Bahrain and Vietnam Grands Prix were also postponed in the wake of the escalating coronavirus pandemic, leaving the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort as the de facto season opener.

However, it has been suggested that F1 will ditch the opening trio of European races, meaning that Zandvoort, Barcelona and Monaco face the chop should the coronavirus crisis continue to worsen.

This means that the season would open in June with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, one week before the field goes to Montreal for its Canadian round.

Confirmed postponements:

Australian Grand Prix - Albert Park - 15 March

Bahrain Grand Prix - Sakhir - 22 March

Vietnam Grand Prix - Hanoi - 5 April

Chinese Grand Prix - Shanghai - 19 April

These postponements also affect the Formula 2 and Formula 3 championships, which are on F1's support bill. Bahrain was due to be the first round for both categories, but this is now currently scheduled as Zandvoort.

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When will the 2020 MotoGP season begin?

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

MotoGP promoter Dorna Sports and the FIM have arguably been the most proactive motorsport bodies during this difficult period, with constant communication flowing out of both camps as to the championship's current situation.

A week before the Qatar season opener, tightened quarantine restrictions on Italian travellers - making up a sizeable portion of the paddock - gave Dorna no choice but to scrap the Qatar race, despite its hopes to get all the personnel needed to start the race into the country on a charter flight from Nice.

As more countries reacted to the COVID-19 situation, MotoGP's second, third and fourth rounds in Thailand, America and Argentina were all postponed.

MotoGP has already found slots for these races, except Qatar, which won't appear this year owing to the Losail circuit undergoing essential track works in the coming months.

The back-end of the calendar is now incredibly congested as a result, with eight races in 10 weeks. There is a risk this could put too much strain on the paddock.

The season is now due to start on May 3 in Spain at Jerez, although this is very much subject to change, with various regions in Spain now under quarantine.

Dorna and the FIM hope to run all 19 remaining races, and is willing to run the season into January 2021 if needed, while two-race weekends and races at back-up venues are also under consideration.

While chaos reigned in F1, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and FIM president Jorge Viegas have both released Q&As recently updating the world on their current plans.

Updated 2020 MotoGP Calendar:

Date Event Venue
March 8 Qatar - Moto2 and Moto3 only Losail
May 3 Spain Jerez
May 17 France Le Mans
May 31 Italy Mugello
June 7 Catalunya Barcelona
June 21 Germany Sachsenring
June 28 Netherlands Assen
July 12 Finland KymiRing
August 9 Czech Republic Brno
August 16 Austria Red Bull Ring
August 30 Great Britain Silverstone
September 13 San Marino Misano
September 27 Aragon Motorland Aragon
October 4 Thailand Buriram
October 18 Japan Motegi
October 25 Australia Phillip Island
November 1 Malaysia Sepang
November 15 GP of the Americas COTA
November 22 Argentina Termas de Rio Hondo
November 29 Valencia Ricardo Tormo

When will the World Superbike season resume?

Chaz Davies, ARUBA.IT Racing Ducati

Chaz Davies, ARUBA.IT Racing Ducati

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

World Superbike was fortunate to squeeze in its season-opener in Phillip Island shortly before the COVID-19 situation dramatically worsened in Europe, with the paddock even more affected by travel restrictions placed on Italy.

However, not long after the three Phillip Island races, won by Toprak Razgatlioglu, Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes respectively, it was announced that the second round at Qatar - which was due to take place a week after the MotoGP race - was on hold.

A revised calendar was subsequently issued that did not give the Qatar round a new date, but did feature the third round of the season at Jerez being rescheduled for October.

As of the time of writing, the season is due to resume at Assen on April 17-19.

Revised 2020 WSBK calendar:

Date Venue
February 28-March 1  Phillip Island
March 13-15   Losail - postponed but no new date assigned
April 17-19   Assen
May 8-10   Imola
May 22-24  Aragon
June 12-14   Misano
July 3-5   Donington Park
July 31-August 2 Germany Oschersleben
September 4-6   Portimao
September 18-20   Catalunya
October 2-4  Magny-Cours
October 9-11  El Villicum
October 23-25  Jerez

When will the Formula E season resume?

Felipe Massa, Venturi, EQ Silver Arrow 01 Maximilian Günther, BMW I Andretti Motorsports, BMW iFE.20, Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE06

Felipe Massa, Venturi, EQ Silver Arrow 01 Maximilian Günther, BMW I Andretti Motorsports, BMW iFE.20, Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE06

Photo by: Dom Romney / Motorsport Images

As it stands, the 2019/20 Formula E season has been paused for two months amid the ensuring coronavirus crisis.

The Sanya E-Prix was first to be postponed at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, followed by the Rome E-Prix after the spread intensified dramatically in northern Italy - meaning the country is on lockdown.

After Formula E's latest announcement, the race in Paris, along with calendar newcomers Seoul and Jakarta, have also been postponed until further notice. The FE season is thus theoretically set to resume in Berlin in June.

Confirmed postponements:

Sanya E-Prix - China - 21 March

Rome E-Prix - Italy - 4 April 

Paris E-Prix - France - 18 April

Seoul E-Prix - South Korea - 3 May 

Jakarta E-Prix - Indonesia - 6 June 

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When will the FIA World Endurance Championship season resume?

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Following the cancellation of the Sebring 1000 Miles event, the FIA World Endurance Championship was left with little option but to postpone the following race at Spa, that was due to take place on April 25, leaving only the Le Mans 24 Hours left on the 2019/20 schedule.

The ACO has since postponed the 24 Hours of Le Mans until September 19-20, using a date similar to that used in 1968 when strikes and civil unrest forced it from its usual mid-summer spot. The WEC is also working to find a new date for Spa later in 2020.

How this would fit in with plans for the following season of the WEC to begin in September at Silverstone remains to be seen - although a later start to the 2020/21 campaign, when the new breed of hypercars are due to replace LMP1, would no doubt be welcomed by some.

Confirmed cancellations/postponements:

Sebring 1000 Miles - USA - 13 March (cancelled)

Spa 6 Hours - Belgium - 25 April (postponed)

Le Mans 24 Hours - France - 13-14 June (postponed) rescheduled for September 19-20

What's happening in Supercars?

Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

Photo by: Dirk Klynsmith / Motorsport Images

Supercars will target a June return to racing, with the next three rounds now formally postponed.

The Tasmania, New Zealand and Perth rounds have all been called off, with the current plan centered around Winton being the next event on the first weekend of June.

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There will then be an effort to move those three rounds to the back end of the schedule, as well as a special catch-up round to replace the cancelled Australian Grand Prix.

The move comes as little surprise, following self-isolation rules for overseas travellers by both the Australian and New Zealand governments, and a limit on outdoor gatherings to 500 people in Australia.

The category is planning an official Eseries to fill the gap.

Confirmed postponements:

Tasmania Super400 - April 3-5

Auckland Super400 - April 24-26

Perth SuperNight - May 15-17

When will the World Rally Championship resume?

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: Toyota Racing

The World Rally Championship has so far largely gone off without interference from the coronavirus, with its opening Monte Carlo event in January, February's Rally Sweden and this weekend's Rally Mexico coming just at the right time - though six-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier has objected to competing in Mexico given the events unfolding around the world.

However, WRC couldn't escape the coronavirus-forced cancellations forever, as the final day of Rally Mexico was stopped to help people working in the paddock return home prior to travel restrictions.

The fifth round in Argentina originally slated for the end of April was also put on hold after the country put a temporary ban on international sporting events. All being well, the season should pick up again Portugal on 21-24 May.

Confirmed postponements:

Rally Argentina - April 30-1 May

Elsewhere in the rallying world, next month's World Rallycross season-opener in Barcelona has been postponed. It is unclear if the Portugal event, following a fortnight later will suffer the same fate.

The Titans Rallycross Europe series season is also on hold, and won't make a planned trip to Canada this year in order to free up space for postponed rounds.

What is happening in NASCAR?

Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Valvoline Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Ally Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Smithfield Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Kroger

Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Valvoline Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Ally Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Smithfield Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Kroger

Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

NASCAR tried desperately to continue its current season as planned by staging this weekend's Atlanta race and next weekend's Homestead-Miami event behind closed doors.

But, as the United States government finally declared COVID-19 a national emergency, these plans have been scuppered. On March 16, NASCAR announced a suspension of its season through May 3, adding five more races to its confirmed list of postponements.

Confirmed postponements:

Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 - Atlanta Motor Speedway - 15 March

Dixie Vodka 400 - Homestead-Miami Speedway - 22 March

O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 - Texas Motor Speedway - 29 March

Food City 500 - Bristol Motor Speedway - 5 April

Toyota Owners 400 - Richmond Raceway - 19 April

GEICO 500 - Talladega Superspeedway - 26 April

Dover 400 - Dover International Speedway - 3 May

When will the 2020 IndyCar season begin?

Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

The 2020 IndyCar season won't be getting underway until at least May, after the series called off its first four events in St Petersburg, Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama, Long Beach and the Circuit of the Americas.

There was hope the season-opening round this weekend in St Petersburg would get underway, after it was initially announced that it would take place behind closed doors, while track action for IndyCar would be restricted to just Saturday and Sunday.

Confirmed cancellations:

St. Petersburg, Florida - 15 March

Barber Motorsport Park, Birmingham, Alabama - 5 April

Long Beach, California - 19 April

Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas - 26 April

How will coronavirus affect other international events?

Jamie Green, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi RS 5 DTM

Jamie Green, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi RS 5 DTM

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Although DTM has made no changes to its race calendar thus far, it has cancelled the pre-season test expected to take place on March 16-19 at Hockenheim.

Originally set to take place in Monza, the test was moved to Germany as Italy faced a nationwide lockdown, and would not be open to spectators. The season itself is due to begin in late April at Zolder in Belgium as things stand.

The World Touring Car Cup has cancelled its opening round at the Hungaroring, due to take place on April 24-26, as Hungarian government measures banned gatherings of more than 500 people until further notice. It has also been forced to shelve its Nurburgring round, due to take place in support of the 24-hour race that has been shifted to September.

In Japan, the Super Formula season opener due to take place on April 4 at Suzuka was postponed, while SUPER GT organisers have postponed their curtain-raiser on April 11-12 at Okayama despite successfully hosting a behind-closed-doors pre-season test there.

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is on hold until at least June's Detroit round, with the Sebring 12 Hours having been rescheduled for November and the Long Beach and Mid-Ohio races both being placed on indefinite hiatus.

Elsewhere in sportscar racing, the European Le Mans Series has postponed its first two rounds at Barcelona and Monza, and the GT World Challenge Europe (formerly Blancpain GT Series) has reshuffled its calendar after its planned opener at Monza was cancelled.

Has the British Touring Car Championship been cancelled?

Tom Ingram, Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla

Tom Ingram, Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

On March 13, the British Touring Car Championship released a following statement saying that all rounds would go on as normal unless a change in circumstances occurs.

However, on March 16, the BTCC announced that its pre-season test at Silverstone the following day would be barred to spectators. And then on March 17, the BTCC postponed its opening three rounds with the season now set to kick off in mid-May.

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