Vietnam and Bahrain races to go ahead despite coronavirus concerns

Formula 1
Chase Carey

The Vietnam and Bahrain Grand Prix races will go ahead as planned despite continuing concerns about coronavirus, Formula 1 says.

Chief executive Chase Carey said “all systems are go” for the race in Hanoi.

“The Vietnam Grand Prix will take place on 5 April in Hanoi. And to anticipate another question, we do plan to proceed with the race,” Carey said.

Vietnam GP boss Le Ngoc Chi said the country was “ready” for its inaugural race.

“We can’t wait to welcome the the world to Hanoi very soon,” Chi said.

Their statements come just a day after a badminton Olympic qualifying tournament scheduled for Vietnam from 24 to 29 March, just a week before the Grand Prix, was postponed until June because of “strict health protection restrictions in place in Vietnam”.

And that decision was made despite the Vietnamese health ministry saying on Tuesday that 16 people in the country infected with coronavirus had been cured, with no new cases recorded for nearly two weeks.

On 13 February, a commune of 10,000 people 30 miles from Hanoi was put into quarantine for 20 days because of concern about the virus.

Carey added that the Bahrain Grand Prix, scheduled to be the second race of the season on 22 March, would also happen, a week after the first race in Australia.

“We’re heading to Melbourne, heading to Bahrain and heading to Hanoi,” Carey said.

Teams having to deal with ‘moving target’

The Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled to be the fourth race on 17 April, has already been postponed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said teams were dealing with “a bit of a moving target” with regard to logistics for the first three races of the season as a result of the rapidly evolving situation with the disease known as Covid-19.

On Tuesday, Bahrain cancelled all flights from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for 48 hours after discovering a number of people who had been infected with Covid-19 who had returned to the country from Iran via the UAE.

And a number of other countries are imposing restrictions on travellers who have come from certain infected zones.

Horner told Sky Sports: “Can you come back into Bahrain via Dubai? Probably not at the moment. We’ve got Honda engineers. Can they go back to Japan? Would they be allowed into Australia even at the moment?”

Ferrari has taken measures in conjunction with local authorities in Italy to limit the spread of the virus, after a series of cases in the northern Italian states of Lombardy and Veneto.

The Ferrari museums in Maranello and Modena have been closed and access to the factory restricted for people who have been to the infected areas.

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