Coronavirus hits sport: Formula One targets Austrian Grand Prix in July as new season-opener

Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan is calling for the scraping of overseas players in the county championship. 

The measure, which Vaughan sees as only temporary, would help cost-cutting, as England's domestic game faces financial chaos after the coronavirus endemic. 

A report has suggested county sides face a loss of more than NZ$160million, if the entire season is lost, as expected. 

"You have to look at every area where you can save a few quid," said Vaughan. "Traditionalists will go mad at this, but these are unprecedented times.

"In the next two years, could you look at not having overseas players for the four-day game?"

Several Blackcaps have enjoyed recent stints in the English domestic game, including Colin de Grandhomme, Trent Boult, Tom Latham and skipper Kane Williamson.

Vaughan, who captained England in 51 of his 82 tests, also suggests shortening future seasons to lesson travel and the associated costs with being on the road.

"Four-day cricket costs the game," he said on the Tuffers and Vaughan Show on BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I'm a die-hard four-day and five-day player. It is a cost to the game that could, just for a couple of years, be worth reducing.

"If you reduced it from 14 to 10 games, you'd miss the games, but I don't think it would be a huge problem for a couple of years. You could go back to that in two or three years."

Vaughan says overseas players should still be permitted in the T20 Blast and The Hundred - the new 100-ball competition due to launch this year, but likely to be postponed at an ECB board meeting later this week. 

F1 looking at July for season resumption

Coronavirus hits sport: Formula One targets Austrian Grand Prix in July as new season-opener
Photo credit: Getty

Formula One chief Chase Carey is "now increasingly confident" racing can begin with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5, as the sport looks to resume after the coronavirus outbreak.

"We're targeting a start to racing in Europe through July, August and beginning of September, with the first race taking place in Austria on July 3-5 weekend," he said.

"September, October and November would see us race in Europe, Asia and the Americas, finishing the season in the Gulf in December, with Bahrain before the traditional finale in Abu Dhabi, having completed between 15-18 races."

Carey said the calendar had yet to be finalised and initial races were expected to take place behind closed doors.

F1 boss Chase Carey
F1 boss Chase Carey Photo credit: Getty

But with income slashed and the smaller teams desperate for revenue, that is considered a necessary step to ensure survival.

All 10 teams flew to Melbourne for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 15, but that was postponed at short-notice and racing has not yet been able to resume.

"The FIA, teams, promoters and other key partners have been working with us throughout these steps, and we want to thank them for all their support and efforts during this incredibly challenging time," said Carey.

"We also want to recognise the fact that the teams have been supporting us at the same time that they have been focusing enormous and heroic efforts to build ventilators to help those infected by COVID-19."

Carey did not provide details to the provisional new calendar, such as whether double races, mooted in Austria and Britain, would be considered.

But a delay to the current season end - currently November 29 in Abu Dhabi - was essentially confirmed.


Tennis ace Nadal backs return to training

Rafa Nadal
Rafa Nadal Photo credit: Getty

Rafael Nadal has clarified his position on the lockdown in tennis through the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking on an Instagram live chat with Roger Federer a week ago, Nadal had said: "I do not really understand why we can't play tennis, especially because of the type of sport it is."

But speaking to Spain's sports media on Monday, as part of the launch of a new campaign to raise money to fight the virus, Nadal said: "I think one thing is the training and another thing is competing.

"With tennis, I don't see a problem with training with another professional, although it's not the priority for anyone at the moment, but competing is a lot more difficult.

"I wish we could compete, even without spectators, but we have to be responsible and coherent. I don't see how we can travel to a different country every week.

"Our sport is very different to golf, where there is a lot more space, and to hold a Grand Slam tournament, there are 128 men and 128 women players, as well as all the members of each player's team.

"Even without spectators, there would be a lot of [physical] contact."

Repeating his feeling that training should be allowed, he said: "When it comes to training, I think they should differentiate between sports."

Nadal has teamed up with Spanish basketball legend Pau Gasol and other leading figures in Spanish sport to raise funds for the Red Cross.