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Start of F1 season pushed to mid-June by Azerbaijan postponement

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The Azerbaijan Grand Prix was postponed Monday because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, delaying the start of the Formula One season until the middle of June at the earliest.

The first eight races of the 2020 season either have been postponed or canceled because of the virus.

The race at the Baku City Circuit was scheduled for June 7 but has been called off after discussions between governing body FIA and the local government.

“This comes as a direct result of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and has been based entirely on the expert guidance provided to us by the relevant authorities,” organizers said in a statement.

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They said a new race date would be announced later in the season.

F1 races have been staged in Azerbaijan since 2017.

The season-opening Australian GP in Melbourne was called off only hours before racing was to start on March 13. The Bahrain GP, scheduled to start the following week without fans, and the inaugural Vietnam GP on April 5 were then quickly called off. The Chinese GP in Shanghai on April 19 had been postponed in February.

Last week, the iconic Monaco GP was among three races called off. While races in the Netherlands and Spain were postponed, the event in Monaco was scrapped for 2020.

The next race scheduled after Azerbaijan is in Canada on June 14 at the Circuit Gillies Villeneuve in Montreal.

F1’s midseason break also has been moved from August to March and April and extended from 14 to 21 consecutive days, to help with scheduling.

The season is scheduled to end with the Abu Dhabi GP on Nov. 29 but could be extended to accommodate some postponed races.

A total of eight races with 12 cars must be completed for the championship to be validated, FIA has said.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”