Coronavirus: F1 brings mid-season break forward to March and April

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Formula One will have no mid-season break in 2020 after teams voted to bring it forward to March and April in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chinese Grand Prix was postponed ahead of the start of the campaign, with races in Bahrain and Vietnam called off after the season-opening event in Australia was cancelled in the wake of McLaren withdrawing when a team member tested positive for COVID-19.

The mandatory shutdown period has now been moved forward and extended from two weeks to 21 days, opening up dates in August for rescheduling purposes.

An FIA statement read: "In light of the global impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus currently affecting the organisation of FIA Formula One world championship events, the World Motor Sport Council has approved a change to the 2020 FIA Formula 1 sporting regulations, moving the summer shutdown period from July and August to March and April and extending it from 14 to 21 days.

"All competitors must therefore observe a shutdown period of 21 consecutive days during the months of March and/or April.

"The change was supported unanimously by both the F1 strategy group and F1 commission."

The season is scheduled to get under way at the returning Dutch Grand Prix on May 3.

F1's managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn last week stated he was confident the season would have 17 or 18 races at the least.