F1 chief Chase Carey insists Liberty Media have no plans to reschedule the upcoming Bahrain and Vietnam Grands Prix due to the threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak. The sport’s bosses have already been forced to postpone the 2020 Chinese Grand Prix due to the spread of the disease, which has already claimed more than 2000 lives after originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The Bahrain Grand Prix, the second race of the F1 calendar following the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, and the upcoming inaugural race in Vietnam have been at risk of being pushed back to a later date.
Carey, however, says there are no plans to postpone the trip to Hanoi or next month’s visit to the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain.
“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.
Carey, F1’s top dog following Liberty Media’s takeover, added: “We’re heading to Melbourne, heading to Bahrain and heading to Hanoi.”
Carey’s comments come just a day after the Olympic badminton qualifying tournament scheduled for Vietnam from March 24-29 was rescheduled for June due to “strict health protection restrictions in place in Vietnam.”
The tournament, originally planned to take place a week before the Vietnam Grand Prix, was pushed back despite no new cases of coronavirus being recorded in the country for almost two weeks.
Vietnam Grand Prix chief Le Ngoc Chi says the country is “ready” for its inaugural race, adding “we can’t wait to welcome the the world to Hanoi very soon.”
Carey and co. will be desperate to avoid rescheduling any more races with the postponement of the Chinese Grand Prix set to cost them in the region of £35m.
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F1 will return to Japan in October for the Japanese Grand Prix and this week the onus was put on the Far East country to deal with coronavirus ahead of the Olympics.
“This is the new war and you have to face it,” said International Olympic Committee chief Dick Pound, adding that by late May “folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo, or not?'”
Pound said: “It’s a big, big, big decision and you just can’t take it until you have reliable facts on which to base it.
“You just don’t postpone something on the size and scale of the Olympics. There’s so many moving parts, so many countries and different seasons, and competitive seasons, and television seasons. You can’t just say, we’ll do it in October.”
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