F1 suspended until end of May; Bahrain & Vietnam GPs postponed

F1

Formula 1 races in Sakhir and Hanoi will not be taking place as planned until later in the year

The start of the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix

DPPI

The Bahrain and Vietnam Grands Prix have both been postponed due to coronavirus, becoming the third and fourth F1 races to be affected by the pandemic.

Following the decision to cancel the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, rounds two and three of the championship will not take place as planned, with a preliminary target of resuming the championship set for the end of May.

In a statement, Formula 1 said that it was working with race promoters to find new dates to run both of the races later in the year, but that safety was its primary concern.

“In view of the continued global spread of COVID-19 and after ongoing discussions with the FIA, the Bahrain International Circuit, the Bahrain Motor Federation, the Hanoi People’s Committee the Vietnamese Motorsports Association, and the Vietnam Grand Prix Corporation, a decision has been taken by all parties to postpone both races due to take place on the 20th – 22nd March in Bahrain and April 3rd – 5th April in Vietnam.

Related article

“Following the announcement of the Australian Grand Prix’s cancellation this week and the ongoing and fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation globally, Formula 1, the FIA and the promoters have taken these decisions in order to ensure the health and safety of the travelling staff, championship participants and fans, which remains our primary concern.

“Formula 1 and the FIA continue to work closely with the race promoters in Bahrain and Vietnam and the local authorities to monitor the situation and take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates for each Grand Prix later in the year should the situation improve.

“As a result, Formula 1 and the FIA expect to begin the Championship in Europe at the end of May but given the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Europe in recent days, this will be regularly reviewed.”

Bahrain had introduced special measures to allow for the Grand Prix to go ahead despite restrictions on international arrivals into the country.

Related article

Entry for team personnel had been granted and thorough medical examinations were planned to be carried out upon F1’s arrival.

The inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix in Hanoi was meant to be the third round of the championship, though the evolving situation around possible transmission has ruled that out.

A McLaren employee tested positive for coronavirus on the Thursday before the now-cancelled Australian race, prompting 14 other team members to go into self-isolation.

F1 released a joint statement just two hours before cars were set to go out on track for practice that the race would no longer be happening.

Preliminary plans are reportedly in the works that would have the Formula 1 2020 season commence at the end of May, with the Monaco Grand Prix being the closest race to that given date. It would mean the summer break is shifted forward to begin now, and rescheduled races moved to take place throughout August.