Formula One's August shutdown will be brought forward and extended to a mandatory 21 successive days in March and April as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the governing body FIA said on Wednesday.
The 2020 race calendar has already been suspended, with last weekend's Australian season opener in Melbourne cancelled and the next three races at least postponed.
‘TESTED POSITIVE’: New drama after Australian GP 'shambles'
The sport hopes to race again at the end of May.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said its World Motor Sport Council had approved a change to the 2020 regulations, cancelling the mid-season break and forcing the 10 teams to take three weeks by the end of April.
“The change was supported unanimously by both the F1 Strategy Group and F1 Commission,” it added in a statement on Wednesday.
The switch will allow Liberty Media-owned Formula One to reschedule postponed races in August and also help smaller, privately-owned teams survive what threatens to be an existential crisis.
Some European countries are in lockdown already as they seek to contain the spread of the virus and many team staff are already working from home or in self-isolation after flying back from Australia.
The new measure comes after farcical scenes in Melbourne in which fans and commentators were kept in the dark about whether the Australian Grand Prix was going ahead.
Thought I’d come back to check the status of the #AustralianGP about 6 hours after McLaren pulled out, assuming that surely to Christ there would be some news.— Hayley Stanway (@HayleyStanwayF1) March 12, 2020
Shockaroony - there is not.
What a disgrace #F1
This is all F1 and FIA have to say.— Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1) March 12, 2020
Shambolic. Absolutely shambolic. Zero guidance. Zero actual information. https://t.co/uYlGV3PEqU
Formula One hoping for reschedules races
Formula One bosses are to talk with the sport's team principals on Thursday in an attempt to thrash out a revised calendar.
Meanwhile, McLaren have confirmed that the British mechanic who contracted coronavirus in Melbourne is now free of symptoms.
The British team also revealed that seven other staff members who were tested for the disease while in Australia quarantine have all returned negative results.
McLaren's withdrawal from the Australian Grand Prix prompted F1 bosses to cancel the opening race of the new season.
McLaren reported that their staff members in self-isolation at the team's hotel in Melbourne are “doing well and in good spirits”.
It is expected that they will be allowed to return to the UK next week.
With Yahoo Sports Staff