The Bahrain and Vietnam Grand Prix have been postponed as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, Formula 1 has confirmed.
The Australian Grand Prix was cancelled just hours before Friday Free Practice was due to commence, after a member of the McLaren team tested positive for Coronavirus, and after a number of discussions, Formula 1 and the FIA have decided to postpone the next two Grand Prix as well.
That means that the earliest possible start for the season is the Dutch Grand Prix on May 3, but Formula 1 has said that they expect to begin the season at the end of May, meaning this race is also in doubt.
Although the Bahrain and Vietnam races will not take place as planned, Formula 1 has confirmed that it is currently evaluating alternative dates to hold the race, should the Coronavirus situation improve.
Speaking about the decision to postpone the next two races, Formula 1 Chairman and CEO, Chase Carey said: “The global situation regarding COVID-19 is fluid and very difficult to predict and its right we take time to assess the situation and make the right decisions.
“We are taking this decision with the FIA and our promoters to ensure the safety of everyone involved in Formula 1 and our fans.
“The Bahrain Grand Prix is an exciting race in our schedule, and we look forward to being back there as soon as we can.
“We are also looking forward to Vietnam’s inaugural race and bringing the spectacle of F1 to one of the most exciting cities in the world.”
FIA President, Jean Todt added: “Protecting people first. Together with Formula 1, the Bahrain Motor Federation, the Vietnamese Motorsports Association, and the local promoters, postponing both the Bahrain and Vietnam Grands Prix, as with the Australian Grand Prix, was the only possible decision given all of the information currently available to us.
“We continue to rely on the input and advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and governments and will work with them throughout this unpredictable period to safeguard the fans, competitors and all of the motor sport community.”