Bahrain Grand Prix to be 'participants only' due to coronavirus

Manama (dpa) – The Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix due later this month will be a "participants-only event" without spectators due to the coronavirus outbreak, the organizers announced on Sunday.

The Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) said in a statement posted on Facebook that “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."
“To ensure that neither the sport, nor its global supporter base, is unduly impacted, the race weekend itself will still go ahead as a televised event,” the statement said.
The event is scheduled for March 19-22, a week after the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne next Sunday. The Chinese Grand Prix from April 17-19 in Shanghai was postponed last month.
The organizers had previously announced a halt in ticket sales to try and ensure that the event would not be so full. But Sunday's statement concluded that "aggressive social distancing measures" would be "near impossible to maintain" if the event went ahead as originally planned.
 “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,” they added.
Bahrain is among several countries in the region that have reported Covid-19 infections amid growing fears of the spread of the potentially fatal disease.

Sunday, March 8th 2020

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