Expert 'not optimistic' about 2020 F1 Chinese GP

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Lewis Hamilton driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W10 competes in the Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 at the Shanghai International Circuit on April 14, 2019 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Yin Liqin/China News Service/Visual China Group via Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W10 competes in the Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix 2019 at the Shanghai International Circuit on April 14, 2019 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Yin Liqin/China News Service/Visual China Group via Getty Images)
Yin Liqin

A disease expert says he is not "optimistic" about whether China will be able to host its Formula 1 race as scheduled in April this year.

The spread of the deadly coronavirus, whose epicentre in Wuhan is 800 kilometres from Shanghai's F1 track, is worsening by the day.

Foreign offices are advising against travel, international airlines are stopping direct flights into and out of China, sporting events are being cancelled, and the World Health Organisation has now declared a global emergency.

"The virus is still spreading, there is no doubt about it," Dr Sergio Brusin, an expert at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, told the Guardian newspaper.

"There has been a huge increase of cases in China and more countries importing cases.  We are seeing human-to-human transmission outside the area of Wuhan that can indicate that it will spread further," he said.

Some are predicting that the epidemic's seriousness could be peaking by April, when Shanghai is scheduled to host its seventeenth Chinese GP.

Dr Brusin said: "What happens between now and April is extremely difficult to predict, but if the infection keeps on spreading at this pace I would not be optimistic at having a F1 ticket in my pocket."

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