Organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix have announced the race will go ahead behind closed doors due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. The race is due to take place on 20 – 22 March and will only be broadcast on TV and radio.
A statement said, “In consultation with our international partners and the Kingdom’s national health Taskforce, Bahrain has made the decision to hold this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix as a participants-only event.”
“As an F1 host nation, balancing the welfare of supporters and race goers is a tremendous responsibility. Given the continued spread of Covid-19 globally, convening a major sporting event, which is open to the public and allows thousands of international travellers and local fans to interact in close proximity would not be the right thing to do at the present time.”
The statement added that Bahrain’s early actions to “prevent, identify and isolate” cases of individuals with coronavirus have been “extremely successful” so far.
The Bahraini government has requested the names and flight details of all F1 personnel who work for teams, administrators, broadcasters or media who have been to or transited through, China (including Hong Kong), Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Egypt, Lebanon and Thailand in the fourteen days before their arrival in Bahrain.
The government has also asked for the names and flight details of all passengers planning to arrive in Bahrain via the United Arab Emirates. These passengers are expected to be screened at Manama airport on arrival and, if they do not have coronavirus, will be allowed to enter the country.
A statement from the Bahrain International Circuit, “We know how disappointed many will be by this news, especially for those planning to travel to the event, which has become a cornerstone event of the international F1 calendar, but safety has to remain our utmost priority.”
Last night the Italian government announced that anyone living in several of its northern regions would be quarantined. It could cause problems for Ferrari, as people from those areas must be granted special permission to travel until 3rd April.