March 13, 2020 / 11:18 AM / 23 days ago

EXCLUSIVE, UPDATE 1-Motor racing-Formula One to call off Bahrain and Vietnamese GPs -sources

* Bahrain and Vietnam races to be called off

* Move follows cancellation of Australian season-opener (Adds detail)

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) - Formula One will call off the Bahrain and Vietnamese Grands Prix after the cancellation of Sunday’s Australian season-opener due to the coronavirus outbreak, multiple F1 sources told Reuters on Friday.

Bahrain’s March 22 race, the second on the calendar, was already scheduled to be run without spectators under floodlights at the Sakhir circuit.

Vietnam’s first Formula One grand prix was scheduled for April 5 on the streets of Hanoi as the third round of the season.

Sources said Formula One, which has already postponed the April 19 Chinese Grand Prix, was set to make an official announcement later.

Vietnam at least was set to be postponed, rather than cancelled.

The Australian Formula One Grand Prix was cancelled on Friday because of the coronavirus outbreak only hours before the first practice session was scheduled to get underway at Albert Park.

The fourth race on the calendar is scheduled to be the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort on May 3, a home grand prix for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

There is uncertainty too about that, however, with a ban already in force in the Netherlands on gatherings of more than 100 people. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Jason Neely)

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