The 2020 race calendar has already been suspended, with last weekend's Australian season opener in Melbourne cancelled and the next three races at least postponed. The sport hopes to race again at the end of May.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said its World Motor Sport Council had approved a change to the 2020 regulations, cancelling the summer break and forcing the 10 teams to take three weeks by the end of April.
"The change was supported unanimously by both the F1 Strategy Group and F1 Commission," it added in a statement.
Hamilton leads criticism of 2021 Pirelli prototype tyres
The switch will allow Liberty Media-owned Formula One to reschedule postponed races in August and also help smaller, privately-owned teams survive what threatens to be an existential crisis.
Multiple F1 sources told Reuters that the teams, FIA and senior Formula One management will discuss further measures in a conference call on Thursday.
That looks likely to involve delaying by a year the introduction of radical new technical regulations planned for 2021.
Some European countries are in lockdown already as they seek to contain the spread of the virus and many team staff are already working from home or in self-isolation after flying back from Australia.
- Football, cycling, tennis, Olympic qualifiers - how coronavirus is affecting sport
- UEFA confirm Euro 2020 postponed until 2021
- French Open moved to September as coronavirus forces major changes to calendar
By bringing forward the lockdown, teams will be able to save money by turning off costly windtunnels and freezing car development.
Allowing them to continue racing next year with effectively the same cars as this season would represent another major saving.
The lack of an August break will be another blow for employees however, with family holiday having to be cancelled and the prospect of a packed second half of the year with races running into December.
Ferrari will support F1 engine freeze, says team boss Binotto
'We can make it very difficult' - Max Verstappen on Mercedes