Bahrain Grand Prix race organisers have taken the decision to run the second weekend of the Formula 1 season as a 'participants-only event' without spectators.
A statement issued on Sunday morning has confirmed that race will go ahead but also that spectators will not be granted admission as the country reacts to the global coronavirus crisis.
"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," read a statement from race organisers.
"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 Chinese Grand Prix has already been postponed and the season opener in Australia is now at risk due to a lock-down in northern Italy that could prevent AlphaTauri, Ferrari and Pirelli personnel from travelling.
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