Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Bahrain Grand Prix open to “vaccinated or Covid-recovered” fans only

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

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The Bahrain Grand Prix promoter has announced the event will be open to spectators who are not at risk of transmitting Covid-19.

Three weeks before practice is due to begin for the opening round of the 2021 F1 season, tickets have gone on sale for the three-day event. They will be offered only to “vaccinated or Covid-recovered” spectators only.

Those eligible to enter the event will be identified by one of two badges. ‘Fully Vaccinated Individuals’ are defined as those who received their second of two vaccine doses more than two weeks earlier. Those who have only received a single dose are not allowed to attend. ‘Recovered Covid Cases’ are defined as those whose first date of infection passed at least two weeks earlier.

“Entry will only be granted to ticket holders on presentation of one of these badges,” the organisers stated. “Failure to do so will result in entry being denied.”

Health screening will be performed at the point of entry and mask wearing will be compulsory at all times. Communal areas for eating and drinking have been “carefully selected to allow for health protection measures and enhanced sanitation”, said the organisers.

The Bahrain International Circuit hosted two rounds of the world championship last year. The events were held largely without spectators, although a limited number of health workers were permitted to attend.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Bahrain Grand Prix open to “vaccinated or Covid-recovered” fans only”

  1. Going to be interesting to see if the same criteria will be applied to what is effectively, the F1 Bubble.
    Especially after they were offered the vaccine for the testing period with the second dose 2 weeks later.
    If you were a team manager, what would your choice be.?

    1. I mean, obviously you would love for your team to be vaccinated right away. Like, who would possibly not want that outside of some conspiracy theorists or people that don’t understand the verification and development process and have some unfounded fears about safety of the vaccine. But I assume most people would love to get the vaccine sooner rather than later, and have those around them get it too.

      That said, as a team boss, you have more considerations, one of them being the PR side of things. If it were to come out you “bought” your way to the front of the line, while millions of your fans, some of which are in at-risk groups, have to wait for stock to become available to them through normal channels, that would look absolutely terrible. So for that reason, I would wait for my turn in whatever country my team was based at.

  2. This is wrong. You can’t say ‘if you have had COVID, you can come to the race, because it might make someone deliberately try to get it so they will be allowed to come to the race. And there are people who would do that.
    Only allowing people who are vaccinated is better, because it will encourage people to get vaccinated. It is infuriating how many people are refusing to get the vaccine.

    1. A stupid man, stupid does.

    2. isthatglock21
      5th March 2021, 4:09

      For country so strict on testing, with low transmission & high vaccine rollout doubt they’re that stupid. It’s probably more to cover team personnel who have had it but are now clear or even if locals have just had it, They would still be tested like everyone else & demand proof of them having it with dates & when they tested negative. They had a slick operation last year, they’re small & many countries have no issue in implementing rules & checks which they follow

  3. I thought there wasn’t conclusive data yet that people who are vaccinated cannot get it and can’t transmit it.
    Also there have been many cases of people getting infected a second time.

    1. This is just a response to the following wording:
      “will be open to spectators who are not at risk of transmitting Covid-19.”

      1. As you can never be sure, as even t he vaccines arent 100% secure, nobody will effectively be allowed in… or its just a legal disclaimer for not being liable when covid hits the fan

    2. That’s exactly it, but I guess this is the inevitable ‘let’s spread it slowly but pretend we’re doing everything so we don’t lose votes’ -tactic.

    3. I’m not saying that the risk doesn’t exist, but we’re talking about a tiny minority that might be asymptomatically (re)infected (which already cuts transmission a huge deal) go on to transmit to other people who themselves will have a fair degree of sterilizing immunity (50 – 95% from vaccines and 80 – 99% from infection, according to studies) and even if transmission is successful, a much higher chance of an asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic course of illness which again will mean less transmissibility to others.

      See the forest and not the trees and all of that.

    4. The vaccine doesn’t exist to “not get covid-19” so that’s true. It exists to arm the body against covid-19 before you get the actual disease. That way, when you get it, you either get a mild case or have little to no symptoms at all. We’ve seen from early vaccination results that even the most at-risk groups that get vaccinated now have a way lower risk of getting very sick and hospitalised and an even lower risk for going to the ICU and dying from Covid-19.

      And that’s it. That’s what the vaccine is set out to do. It will never prevent Covid-19, but once we reach a certain level of vaccination, it will hopefully limit the spread to a degree where it’s either dying out naturally, or our immune systems become accustomed to it as to where it’s no longer that much of a threat (worst case scenario here is basically giving yearly corona-shots along with the flu-shots that already exist).

      So in that sense, allowing vaccinated people or people that naturally developed a resistance due to having had it to an event like this makes sense. Yes, it could still spread amongst the attendees, but that in itself shouldn’t lead to many people that get sick. And the less “sick” you are, the less you are at risk of spreading it yourself.

      I mean, the vaccine isn’t really going to magic Covid-19 away for a while, if ever. So at some point in the vaccination process you need to accept that it exists and accept some people in at-risk groups will die from it. The vaccine is there to minimise that at-risk group as much as possible.

      1. One of the issues here is people going, being told that there isn’t risk of transmitting it, and acting carelessly as a result of that.

    5. @macaque Conclusive evidence of vaccines preventing spread, no. Good quality pre-prints (based on in-field testing in Israel and the UK), yes.

      Recovered people absolutely can get it again, and in the last couple of months, that’s become a serious problem in Brazil.

  4. Tickets were on sale last week already (maybe even before) as I checked merely to try and find out if the event would be closed or open to the general public, unlike last year.
    Vaccinated, yes, but recovered, somewhat weird and risky.

  5. Bold but necessary move. I expect something similar will now start to get applied to many other events worldwide.

  6. Would they even be allowed to do that by law?
    I thinks it’s a very questionable approach. First of all, if you had COVID that doesn’t mean you won’t get it again. Secondly, there are people who can’t be vaccinated, because of health reasons.
    Why not allow people in who can show a negative COVID test result?! IMO these people should be equal to someone who was vaccinated. It should be the same for everyone, not just for specific people.

    1. @srga91 I’m pretty sure Bahraini law allows this policy – Bahrain is not the USA or EU.

      Whether it is wise, is a separate question.

  7. I aqm worried about this policy. In Manaus, the newest variant of COVID-19 appears to be capable of reinfecting at least 25% of people who have already had the virus (PDF link) – and we don’t yet know why. While I don’t think Bahrain has that variant yet, and may not get it if it is careful enough with international restrictions… …it’s a big risk to take, because someone who’s allowed in but happens also to be carrying COVID asymptomatically (as 1/3 of people who get COVID do) could easily turn the Bahrain Grand Prix into a super-spreader event. That would reduce the viability of the rest of the early schedule for F1, even though neither Liberty nor anyone else strictly necessary to F1 competition directly contributed to the situation.

    Scepticism of testing regimes is pretty high these days, so I’m not surprised that they’re not regarded as sufficient any more.

    (Finally, there’s a contradiction between “masks must be worn at all times” and “there will be communal dining areas” – one can’t eat or drink with a mask over one’s mouth!)

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