Bahrain and Vietnam F1 Grands Prix set to be postponed due to coronavirus as F1 chiefs scrap first four races of season – The Sun

FORMULA 1 is set to postpone both the Bahrain and Vietnam Grands Prix amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports.

The Times claim the decision has already been made to cancel the events, after the Australian and Chinese races were also wiped out.

Race organisers appeared determined to go ahead with this weekend's season opener in Melbourne despite growing calls to cancel it.

However, once a McLaren staff member was confirmed to have contracted the virus, the weekend was eventually abandoned.

The initial plan was to hold the Bahrain GP behind closed doors but further doubt is now being placed on that event – especially as it is set to begin in a week's time.

After the Sakhir race on March 22, F1 is due to travel to Hanoi for the first-ever Vietnam GP on April 5.

Preparations are already well underway for the historic event, held on a temporary street circuit under construction for many months.

In contrast, teams have known for some time that April 19's trip to Shanghai International Circuit is off.

That race was postponed in February, amid optimistic statements that it can be rescheduled for later in the year, after the outbreak began in China.

With the first four GPs cancelled, it will mean a start to the 2020 season on the first weekend of May when Dutch circuit Zandvoort hosts its first race since 1985.

Sport bosses had proudly announced a mega 22-race calendar at the end of last year, which is set to be cut to a more normal 18 before an official lap has been run.

However that calendar will be crammed into just seven months – before any of the postponed races are potentially rescheduled.

Indeed, there will now be fears over whether May 3's race in the Netherlands can take place too.

But Dutch health officials claimed earlier this week that they "see no reason not to let the Grand Prix go ahead".

⚠️ Read our Coronavirus in Sport live blog for the latest news, updates and cancellations

The director of the country's national health board, Sjaak de Gouw, told F1 Maximaal: "We do advise all event organisers to pay extra attention to hygiene measures and information.

"The threat of contamination that is present in the Netherlands will play an important role, but the threat is currently so low that any consideration will lead to the conclusion that all events can continue for the time being.

"If the virus spreads much further and more freely in the Netherlands or internationally in the coming month, this could change. But if I was a fan, I would go to the race."

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