The Rome E-Prix has become the latest major motorsport event to be postponed or canceled amid the ongoing Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, with other upcoming Formula E races now in jeopardy.
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship confirmed on Friday that this year’s Rome E-Prix will not go ahead on its planned date of April 4, in what was set to be the first European race of the season.
Italy has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the world amid the Covid-19 outbreak, and by far the worst European nation, with a number of major events forced to be canceled.
A law was passed earlier this week ruling that all sport in the country must be played behind closed doors until at least Friday, April 3, the day before the Rome E-Prix.
While hosting the Formula E race without crowds was considered, it’s understood this option was dismissed due to, in part, the logistical difficulties of closing off the city-center race.
A statement released by Formula E confirmed that the championship is looking to find a replacement date for the race.
“Formula E, in agreement with the relevant authorities in Rome, EUR S.p.A and together with the FIA and Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI), will work closely with championship partners and stakeholders in order to assess and review alternative options to postpone the Rome E-Prix to a later date once restrictions have been lifted,” it read.
Formula E already canceled its Sanya E-Prix, which was scheduled for March 21, over a month ago.
The cancelation of both the Chinese and Italian rounds opens up a seven-week gap in the calendar between last weekend’s Marrakesh E-Prix and the Paris E-Prix on April 18.
However, Paris and the following race two weeks later in Seoul are both also in question, creating the real possibility that four consecutive races could be canceled.
It’s understood that Formula E is seeking replacement race options, with a number of ideas touted in recent weeks.
These include turning existing rounds into double-headers, returning to other street circuits, or using purpose-built race tracks such as Valencia’s Circuito Ricardo Tormo, where pre-season testing is held.