The Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix will be restricted to participants only and no fans will be allowed to attend, due to coronavirus concerns, organisers announced on Sunday.
The Gulf state has reported 83 cases of the virus, mostly linked to people who had travelled to Iran.
Bahrain International Circuit said in a statement: “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.
“But to ensure that neither the sport, nor its global supporter base, is unduly impacted, the race weekend itself will still go ahead as a televised event.”
F1’s first three races are ‘flyaways’ to Australia, Bahrain and Vietnam. The fourth race, the Chinese Grand Prix, has been postponed from it’s original date (April 19) due to the flu-like virus.
The statement continued: “Bahrain’s own early actions to prevent, identify and isolate cases of individuals with Covid-19 has been extremely successful to date. The approach has involved rapid, proactive measures, identifying those affected by the virus, of which the overwhelming majority of cases relate to those travelling into the country by air.
“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.
“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.”
The Australian Grand Prix is set to start on Friday, while concerns are still being raised over the third round in Vietnam in April.
The final two stages of cycling’s UAE Tour were cancelled last month after two Italian riders were suspected of contracting coronavirus, and six new cases were found following tests.
Riders and team staff were quarantined in their hotel on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and screened, while some have since been allowed to leave following negative tests.