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Formula One break starts early, season delayed to cope with coronavirus

Formula One postponed its 2020 season until the end of May, but there's still some good news coming from the sport.

McLaren MCL35 Formula One car
We won't see any papaya-colored cars on the Australian GP's starting grid. Or indeed, any cars at all.
McLaren Racing
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As the novel coronavirus turned from epidemic to an official pandemic, according to the World Health Organization, yet another institution showed the virus stops for nothing. Formula One continues to roll out changes to the 2020 season to keep up with COVID-19's fluid situation and on Wednesday announced its latest steps to accelerate the season's break.

The delay works exactly like F1's summer break, which normally lasts two weeks during July and August. F1 brought the break forward and extended its duration by one week for a total of 21 days. During this time, teams will also shut down factory work and development.

This follows the cancellation of the season's first race, the Australian Grand Prix, which organizers scrapped after a McLaren F1 team member contracted COVID-19. The good news is the team member who tested positive has recovered well, according to a Monday statement.

In addition to the Australian GP cancellation, the Automobile Club de Monaco announced Thursday it will not hold the 2020 Monaco Gran Prix and historic races leading up to the event.

Following additional race cancellations amid the coronavirus' spread, the FIA and F1 said last Friday it expects the season to officially kick off at the end of May. Even so, with both the Ferrari and Alpha Tauri (nee Toro Rosso) teams hailing from Italy -- the European epicenter of the outbreak -- it's hard to imagine how the 2020 season will continue with a business-as-usual attitude despite this hiatus.

Numerous sports organizations in the US have announced major changes over the past week to slow the spread of the virus, including calling off the March Madness college basketball tournament and a suspension of the NBA season.

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Originally published March 12.