The coronavirus outbreak continues to spread its effects, and although the second round of the 2020 Formula 1 season will proceed, it will do so without on-site spectators, motorsport.com reports. This comes days after the hosting Gulf Kingdom announced that ticket sales will be halted as it observes the situation, before announcing that spectators will no longer be allowed at the March 22 event.
“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,” the host nation said in a statement.
“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,” it continued.
The strict measures Bahrain had taken over the recent weeks to limit the spread of the virus would have been severely compromised if the event were to proceed normally and thousands of fans attended the race. Bahrain’s own early actions to prevent, identify and isolate cases of individuals with COVID-19 has been extremely successful to date, the state added.
Despite concerns and consequent measures to stem the propogation of the contagion, the Australian Grand Prix is set to still take place as the 2020 season opener. The spectator restriction is the latest in a line of setbacks for the automotive industry, which has seen automaker face difficulties not just due to sourcing parts from China, but also for hosting motor shows, which saw the cancellation of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show and the postponement of the 2020 Beijing Motor Show, which was at first set to commence April 21.
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