PARIS -- The iconic Monaco Grand Prix was added Thursday to a growing list of Formula One races to be postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Dutch GP was set to return to its re-vamped Zandvoort track outside Amsterdam to host an F1 race on May 3, and for the first time since the late Niki Lauda won there in 1985. Spain was set to follow on May 10.
Because of the latest postponements, the F1 season cannot get underway until June 7 at the Azerbaijan GP.
Governing body FIA said the season will begin “as soon as it is safe to do so.”
The season-opening Australian GP in Melbourne was called off only hours before it was due to start last Friday. The Bahrain GP, scheduled to start on Friday without fans, and the inaugural Vietnam GP on April 5 were then quickly called off. The Chinese GP in Shanghai on April 19 was postponed in February.
The mid-season break has been moved from August to March and April and extended from 14 to 21 consecutive days. Teams can choose their 21-day period for ceasing activities. That will allow more flexibility in re-arranging races.
Also Thursday, the FIA, F1 and the 10 teams unanimously agreed to postpone the implementation of rule changes planned for 2021 until 2022. Because of the precarious financial situation, teams will save on costs by using this year's car chassis in 2021.
The season is scheduled to end with the Abu Dhabi GP on Nov. 29, but could be extended to fit some postponed races in.
A total of eight races with 12 cars must be completed for the championship to be validated, FIA said.
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