The official organisers of the event has announced that the Bahrain Grand Prix of the 2020 Formula 1 calendar will take place without spectators through a statement issued on Sunday, according to a report by motorsport.com.
The announcement comes just two days after tickets sales were halted as the organisers move to evaluate its response to the escalating situation surrounding COVID-19.
The Gulf Kingdom said in the statement, “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. 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,” it said.
However, the race weekend will still go ahead as a televised event, to ensure that the sport and global supporters are not “unduly impacted” by this decision.
On the prevention of spread of the virus, Bahrain said that its early actions to identify and isolate individuals affected by COVID-19 has been very successful to date.
“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,” the statement said.
“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.”
On the same day of the announcement, Italy has also announced the lockdown of several northern regions, including Modena where Ferrari is based.
On the Facebook post of the announcement, a Bahrain International Circuit spokesperson said that the sales team is currently contacting all ticket holders in regards to the refund process.
The Australian Grand Prix this weekend is still scheduled to go ahead.