Ma Qinghua is out of the ABB Formula E 2019-20 Championship finale due to be held in Berlin in August after the travel restrictions in place proved to be prohibitive.
The Chinese driver was due to compete alongside team-mate Oliver Turvey for the NIO 333 team, but he and all China-based team personnel will not be travelling to the final races.
The team cited the restrictions that those traveling to the race from China would face upon arriving and returning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes self-isolation periods, and the exposure to the virus this travel would cause.
This would not only be difficult for the individual involved, but if there were any issues then the team believed a last-minute driver change would ‘significantly’ effect their preparations for the three double-header races.
Speaking about the decision, Ma Qinghua said, “Unfortunately, I am not going to Berlin this year, having raced there during the 2015-2016 season.
“It is quite difficult to travel and race abroad at present, as this would expose us to more Covid-19 risks. The team and I had in depth discussions about this, and considering the current situation of the pandemic, this decision was made to ensure the best possible preparation for the team.
“I look forward to coming back and racing in the Season 7 World Championship.”
Team CEO Vincent Wang said that Ma and the other team members would be there to assist remotely with a non-stop live stream allowing continued interaction between those at the track and those in Shanghai.
He also said the team would be hoping to announce Ma’s substitute in the near future.
Wang said, “Due to the number of restrictions Ma and the Shanghai team members will be unable to attend the race.
“It is quite unfortunate, but we will continue to assist remotely. Ma will also be present during the live event with our fans as well as providing support to the team on-site.
“The management team is currently selecting the replacement for Ma, and an announcement will be made imminently.”