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FIA Prepared to ‘Take Any Action’ for Sanya Amid Virus Outbreak

Sanya E-Prix still set for March but FIA prepared to take action amid coronavirus outbreak…

Photo: Formula E

The FIA is prepared to “take any action” amid the coronavirus outbreak in China and could cancel upcoming races in the country, although the Sanya E-Prix is currently set to go ahead as planned.

The coronavirus epidemic that broke out in China has already killed at least 213 people in China, with 10,000 infected in the country.

It has now spread to another 18 countries and was labeled a global health emergency by the World Health Organization on Thursday.

The ABB FIA Formula E Championship is due to head to China for the second edition of the Sanya E-Prix on March 21.

While the race is still scheduled to go ahead, the FIA released a statement on Thursday addressing possible cancelation of races.

“Following the coronavirus epidemic that broke out in China at the beginning of the year, the FIA is closely monitoring the evolving situation with relevant authorities and its Member Clubs, under the direction of FIA Medical Commission President, Professor Gerard Saillant,” read the statement.

“The FIA will evaluate the calendar of its forthcoming races and, if necessary, take any action required to help protect the global motor sport community and the wider public.”

Four weeks after the Sanya E-Prix, Shanghai International Circuit is set to host the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix.

Sporting events have already been canceled in the country, with the World Athletics Indoor Championships pushed back 12 months from its March 13-15 date.

That event was set to be held at Nanjing, around 340 miles from Wuhan, the center of the outbreak.

The Sanya E-Prix, meanwhile, is held on the relatively distant island of Hainan, over 1100 miles from Wuhan.

In a statement provided to e-racing365, a Formula E spokesperson said the series organizers are closely following developments that could impact the race.

“We are aware of the situation, which is rapidly evolving on a daily basis,” the statement read. “The health and safety of our staff and all championship participants is a priority of utmost importance.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation and want to take a decision in time, together with the FIA and our local partners.”

A number of airlines have suspended flights to China and western governments have issued travel warnings to their citizens.

The U.S. Department of State has issued a ‘do not travel’ warning and recommends U.S. citizens to leave the country, while the UK Foreign Office advises against ‘all but essential travel’ to all regions of China.

If the Sanya E-Prix is canceled, it’s understood a replacement round will most likely be added onto an existing weekend in the summer as a double-header, rather than by sourcing a new location.

A cancelation of the race would actually prove beneficial to a number of drivers in the paddock who faced clashes between Sanya and the FIA World Endurance Championship’s 1000 Miles of Sebring.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is e-racing365's Managing Editor and also European Editor for Sportscar365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations at the University of Birmingham. Contact Jake

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