The Bahrain and Vietnam Formula 1 Grand Prix rounds have both been postponed due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
Both events had been in doubt for some time as the health crisis escalated, with the Bahrain Grand Prix set to be a spectator-free event after ticket sales were suspended.
The announcement comes barely 12 hours after the FIA and Formula One Management were forced to call off the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in the wake of a McLaren Racing team member testing positive to the COVID-19 virus.
“Formula 1 and the FIA continue to work closely with the race promoters in Bahrain and Vietnam and the local authorities to monitor the situation and take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates for each Grand Prix later in the year should the situation improve,” a statement issued by the FIA reads.
“Postponing both the Bahrain and Vietnam Grands Prix, as with the Australian Grand Prix, was the only possible decision given all of the information currently available to us,” said FIA President Jean Todt.
“We continue to rely on the input and advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and governments and will work with them throughout this unpredictable period to safeguard the fans, competitors and all of the motor sport community.”
Formula 1 Chairman and CEO Chase Carey added: “The global situation regarding COVID-19 is fluid and very difficult to predict and its right we take time to assess the situation and make the right decisions. We are taking this decision with the FIA and our promoters to ensure the safety of everyone involved in Formula 1 and our fans.”
With the fourth round of the season, the Chinese Grand Prix, having been postponed in February, the Dutch Grand Prix on the weekend of May 1-3 is now the first event on the calendar yet to be cancelled or postponed.
With the Chinese Grand Prix officially postponed in February, the Dutch Grand Prix now stands as the first event on the calendar that has not been cancelled or postponed.
“Given the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Europe in recent days, this will be regularly reviewed,” the FIA statement adds.
Image via Mercedes-AMG F1