Friday 27 March at 07:35 :
Mar.27 (GMM) Jacques Villeneuve thinks the coronavirus situation could be about to get a lot worse.
The 1997 world champion, who is now a commentator for Italian and French television, lives on the outskirts of Milan - the region that has been the hardest hit by the global pandemic than anywhere else on earth.
"We are forced to stay at home so we follow the instructions," Villeneuve told Le Journal de Montreal.
"There are thousands of cases here and it is far from over. And what we are experiencing here now, we are going to experience elsewhere. We see it in Spain and France in particular.
"The next step, to a very large extent, could be America," the French Canadian added. "I don't want to alarm anyone, but the situation could get worse if this trend continues."
It has now emerged that the fabled Indy 500, which was scheduled to go ahead in May featuring Fernando Alonso, has been pushed back to August 23.
It is another clear sign that Canada's June 14 race is heading for postponement too.
But Villeneuve thinks it is possible that Montreal - his home race - will actually be the 2020 season opener.
"It would be a coup for Montreal," said the 48-year-old. "The grand prix marks the start of summer in Montreal - it's a great event that is eagerly awaited each year."
Villeneuve, however, admits that a dark cloud hangs over the race.
"Canada is behind the virus," he said. "I can hardly believe that it will take place on June 14. But the good news is that the assembly of the circuit can be delayed. It's not as complex as Baku or Monaco."