F1 calls off Bahrain and Vietnam GPs following Australia cancellation


Formula One called off the Bahrain and Vietnamese Grand Prix after the cancellation of Sunday’s Australian season-opener due to the coronavirus outbreak. The opening three European rounds of the season are also under threat, suggesting F1 may not race at all until the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in June.

After the Australain GP fell to the coronavirus, it was only a matter of time before Bahrain, set to take place behind close doors next weekend, and Vietnam, scheduled for 5 April in Hanoi, were both abandoned as untenable given the spread of the virus. With the logistics of the teams was becoming unsustainable under travel restrictions and the increasing danger of contracting and spreading the virus, F1 and the FIA acted to end speculation and prevent needless travelling.
An F1 statement said: “Due to the continued global spread of Covid-19 … a decision has been taken by all parties to postpone the Bahrain and Vietnam Grand Prix.”
With the Chinese Grand Prix the fourth meeting of the season already postponed, round five is the first European meeting – the Dutch GP set for Zandvoort on 3 May. It is followed in quick succession by the Spanish GP and Monaco, a sequence of three races in four weeks. On Friday, the World Health Organisation declared Europe to be the epicentre of the coronavirus. As things stand, it seems highly unlikely the numbers in excess of 100,000 in attendance at F1 meetings would be deemed acceptable. And if that was the case, Baku on 7 June could be the first race of the season.
F1 is already considering abandoning the traditional summer break in August to attempt to reschedule races that have been postponed, subject to health considerations.
F1’s chief executive, Chase Carey, who faced considerable criticism in Melbourne, admitted the sport was still trying to adapt to the realities of the coronavirus. “We just have to continue doing what we’re doing, reaching out to everybody, every expert, we can around the world,” he said. “Clearly we’re a global sport. And therefore, you know, we’re not just dealing with a single country issue, we’re dealing with an array of complexities. We have to continue to deal with those as the situation evolves.”

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