It was the race that Formula One chiefs had once been optimistic would kick off the delayed 2020 season.
However, it was officially confirmed on Monday that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix had been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
The race, scheduled to take place in Baku on June 7, becomes the eighth fixture this season to be either postponed or cancelled as a result of the pandemic - and it appears inevitable that further disruption will follow.
In announcing the postponement of the race, organisers released a statement which confirmed that their decision had been made in the interests of health and safety, but insisted that they remained hopeful that the race could yet be rearranged this season.
"Baku City Circuit (BCC) has today taken the decision to postpone the FORMULA 1 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX 2020 due to take place on June 5th – 7th.
"The postponement was agreed upon after extensive discussions with Formula 1 as well as the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the Government of the Azerbaijan Republic.
"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.
"In coming to this conclusion, BCC’s primary concern throughout has been the health and wellbeing of the Azerbaijani people as well as all visiting F1 fans, staff and championship participants.
"BCC shares the disappointment of its fans at not being able to experience the pinnacle of motorsport race through the streets of Baku this June.
"To that end, we will continue to work closely with Formula 1, the FIA and the Government of the Azerbaijan Republic to monitor the situation with a view to announcing a new race date later in the 2020 season."
Of the eight races which have been axed this season, only the fixtures in Australia and Monaco have been officially cancelled. The remainder, in theory, have been postponed with a view to them taking place at some point during the 2020 campaign.
Per The Sun, though, the Canadian Grand Prix on 14 June is also considered to be in serious doubt - which would leave the sport's governors in the almost impossible position of trying to find room for at least seven rearranged races in an already packed F1 calendar.
Indeed, F1 CEO revealed in a recent interview that he and his colleagues were unable to properly plan for the return of the sport until the current world health situation subsides.
"We recognise everyone wants to know what comes next for Formula 1 in 2020. We cannot provide specific answers today given the fluidity of the situation," stated Carey.
"However, we plan to get the 2020 championship season underway as soon as it's safe to do so. We are engaging with experts and officials on a daily basis as we evaluate how we go forward in the next few months."
The 2020 F1 season had been slated to comprise of a colossal 22 races. Now, though, it must be deemed increasingly unlikely that anywhere near that number will actually take place.
Per F1's own regulations, the minimum number of races that must take place in order to constitute a season is eight.
With each passing week seemingly bringing a new cancellation or postponement, the completion of a F1 world championship this term might soon start to be in some considerable doubt.
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