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Official: Bahrain GP to be held 'behind closed doors'

NEWS STORY
08/03/2020

As Italy effectively locks down 16 regions, including the home of Ferrari, officials in Bahrain announce that fans will not be admitted to its forthcoming Grand Prix.

"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," said organisers in a brief statement on Sunday morning.

"As an F1 host nation, balancing the welfare of supporters and race goers is a tremendous responsibility. 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.

"Bahrain's own early actions to prevent, identify and isolate cases of individuals with Covid-19 has been extremely successful to date. The approach has involved rapid, proactive measures, identifying those affected by the virus, of which the overwhelming majority of cases relate to those travelling into the country by air. Aggressive social distancing measures have further increased the effectiveness of preventing the virus' spread, something that would clearly be near impossible to maintain were the race to have 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."

The move, which comes five days before the cars take to the track for opening practice in Melbourne, comes three weeks before the Bahrain Grand Prix on 22 March.

Last night, Italy's prime minister, Giuseppe Conte signed a decree that effectively puts 16 regions in the country in lockdown as the country at the epicentre of the virus in Europe seeks to prevent it spreading further.

The provinces include Venice, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, and Treviso.

Lombardy, home to Pirelli and the Nazionale Autodromo Monza, is one of the regions included in the decree as is Modena, which is home to Ferrari.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 09/03/2020 19:38

"Going to be a very odd season if China and Bahrain are the precursors. Can you imagine no spectators at Monaco or Canada?"

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2. Posted by Editor, 09/03/2020 7:30

"@ Burton

Bernie 'tore me a new one' many years ago when I suggested this in an article, he was not happy.

I believe the original idea - based on Paul Ricard, which is effectively owned by his former wife Slavica - came from Autosport and one can only assume he 'tore them a new one' also."

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3. Posted by Burton, 08/03/2020 19:21

"Ecclestone's wet dream..."

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4. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 08/03/2020 19:12

"A cornerstone event?

I'm not so sure about that.

The podium celebrations are going to be a bit muted."

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5. Posted by Anthony, 08/03/2020 15:32

"Let’s hope that the quarantine doesn’t prevent Ferrari taking part over the next few weekends but, if it does, it would be an interesting test of whether, or not, Ferrari are essential to F1...."

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6. Posted by Mambo, 08/03/2020 12:00 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 08/03/2020 12:04)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

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