There has been a recent update from the Bahrain International Circuit on the plans for their 2020 F1 double header. The news, although disappointing, is not much of a surprise due to the crisis being met globally at present.
Following a directive from His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister (to give him his full title) Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) has announced that this year’s Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix and Formula 1 Rolex Sakhir Grand Prix will take place predominantly without spectators. However, there will be a limited number of tickets to the Grand Prix allocated to the families of frontline health workers and first responders in Bahrain.
This decision, albeit a disappointing one for many, has clearly been made as a result of the current global COVID-19 pandemic. The second wave of cases appearing all around the globe which has led to a month-long lockdown in The United Kingdom would most likely have factored into the decision as well.
This announcement is not a great surprise seeing how on Thursday Liberty Media had reported in its third quarter financial report that “F1 does not expect to have fans at any of the remaining 2020 races.” Following an internet search into tickets for the Abu Dhabi GP, the official website for the December 13th’ season-closing event states it will take place behind closed doors.
However, in Bahrain, despite not being great in number the spectators present will be great in importance.
The official BIC website states that families of frontline health workers and first responders in Bahrain are going to be offered tickets to:
“recognise their incredible contribution and commitment in responding to the pandemic in the Kingdom.”
The statement released through an automatic pop up on the official BIC website explains:
“Whilst we will not be able to welcome many fans to our events this year, we are delighted to have the opportunity to recognise the courage and efforts of our frontline healthcare workers and first responders by allocating all in-person attendance of the F1 experience to them.
“We are determined to put on a show for the hundreds of millions of people who will be watching from the safety of their own homes around the world.”
Located in the heart of the Sakhir desert, the Bahrain International Circuit is described by its website as: a unique and contemporary facility that is synonymous with the highest levels of global motorsport.
Much excitement was building for the circuit’s double header event. Since transitioning to a night race in 2014, the circuit has featured several memorable encounters whether it be the Duel in the Desert from that year or most recently Charles Leclerc’s despair in 2019..
Irrespective of full grandstands or not, Bahrain always delivers exciting race so at least the many thousands who would have attended can hopefully take solace from that.
In the meantime we look to 2021 and a hope for a return to business as usual…as unlikely as they may turn out to be.
Meanwhile, with the 2020 F1 season drawing ever nearer to a conclusion, George Russell will be desperate to grasp that elusive Drivers' World Championship point having come so close last time out on track: