Coronavirus: Formula 1 extends shutdown period

Red Bull garage
The first eight races of the season have been postponed

Formula 1 has extended its shutdown period by a further two weeks as the coronavirus outbreak continues to play havoc with the sport.

F1 had already shifted the period during which no staff relevant to car performance can work from summer and extended it from two to three weeks.

Now, it has stretched the period to 35 consecutive days and when it can be taken up to the end of May.

It is the latest in a series of measures to respond to the outbreak.

Among these are that a set of new rules originally intended for introduction in 2021 have been delayed by a year to 2022.

And teams will have to use the same cars in 2021 as they do in 2020, once this season starts, with significant limitations on development set to be introduced.

A budget cap due to be introduced in 2021 at $175m is likely to be lowered.

Teams have agreed to cut the permitted spending figure to $150m but talks are ongoing about potentially lowering it further.

And extending the shutdown still further is still on the table, depending on the development of the virus outbreak around the world.

Meanwhile, the first nine races have all been called off, up to and including the Canadian Grand Prix in the middle of June. Further races are expected to follow.

F1 bosses are exploring all options as they seek to get the season started as soon as possible, once the coronavirus outbreak is under control.

These include holding races behind closed doors and potentially more than one race at a given circuit.

The sport faces significant problems as a result of the lack of action as all three of its main revenue streams are under threat - race-hosting fees, broadcast rights and sponsorship.

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