The F1 season is on hold, with the sport targeting an opening double-header in Austria in July. Picture: REUTERS
The F1 season is on hold, with the sport targeting an opening double-header in Austria in July. Picture: REUTERS

A factory shutdown for Formula One teams and engine makers has been extended for a second time to a period of 63 consecutive days due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the governing FIA said on Tuesday.

It said in a statement that its World Motor Sport Council had approved an extension, running potentially into June depending on when teams started their closures, from the previous 35 days.

The shutdown, first announced in March when the sport was hoping to race in May, was initially for 21 days but that was extended on April 7.

Teams normally take most of August off, but that period has now been freed up to give Formula One room to reschedule a string of races postponed due to the new coronavirus.

The season is on hold, with the sport targeting an opening double-header in Austria in July, without spectators if the government gives the green light. A revised calendar has yet to be issued, and there are still considerable difficulties to overcome, with much of Europe remaining in lockdown and some countries banning mass events until September.

The plan is for 15-18 F1 races between July and December, pandemic permitting.

In two-wheeled racing, MotoGP's German, Dutch and Finnish rounds in June and July have all been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the sport's governing body and promoter announced on Wednesday.

The German Grand Prix had been scheduled for June 21, followed by the Dutch TT at Assen on June 28 with Finland's new KymiRing making its debut on July 12.

The Dutch race was the only venue to have featured on the world championship calendar in every year since it started in 1949.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of these three important Grands Prix on the MotoGP calendar," said Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of promoters Dorna, in a statement.

Ezpeleta had said last week that he was optimistic of racing from July.

MotoGP's season has yet to start, with the first 11 races affected by the virus, and organisers have yet to publish a fully revised calendar.

Races in Spain, France and Italy have been postponed and are looking uncertain.

The next race on the original calendar is the Czech Grand Prix in Brno on August 9.