Manama, March 9 (IANS) The Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, scheduled for March 22, will be held behind closed doors amid concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a statement, the organisers, Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), 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.
“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.
“But 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 BCI had previously suspended ticket sales for the F1 race in an attempt to ensure the event would not be so full, but Sunday’s statement said “aggressive social distancing measures” would be “near impossible to maintain” if the race proceeded 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,” it added.
Over 1,00,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported so far across the globe and more than 3,000 people have lost their lives.