March 6, 2020 / 2:53 PM / in a month

Formula E postpones Rome ePrix due to coronavirus

LONDON (Reuters) - A Formula E race scheduled for Rome on April 4 will not take place due to the coronavirus, the all-electric series announced on Friday, but alternative venues are being considered.

“We are looking for a replacement for Rome, on the same weekend, somewhere we can race even without a public,” series founder Alejandro Agag told Reuters.

“We don’t know if that’s feasible or not,” he added. “In the coming days we will make a decision, we have to agree with the (governing) FIA. But sadly Rome is not happening.”

Italy has ordered all major sporting events throughout the country, including top-flight Serie A soccer games, to be played without fans for one month in a bid to curb Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

“As a consequence of the ongoing health emergency in Italy... it will no longer be possible to stage the Rome E-Prix on April 4,” Formula E said in a statement.

The race is the second this season to be called off due to the virus.

A Chinese Formula E round in Sanya has already been postponed from March 21 and five races have taken place so far on a calendar that originally featured 14 and could lose further rounds.

The series, which uses mostly temporary circuits on city streets, said it would also assess the possibility of holding a race in Rome once restrictions had been lifted.

The next race on the calendar will now be Paris on April 18 and Agag said that remained on schedule providing France remained at its current phase two pre-epidemic level.

“As long as we stay in category two, the event in Paris is fine. If you go to category three, it depends on the timing, how long they (the authorities) declare it (for),” he said.

About 577 coronavirus cases have been reported and nine people have died in France, the European country second most affected by coronavirus after Italy.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar

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