Formula 1 has called off its planned fan festival event in Johannesburg at the end of the month due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

F1 teams Mercedes, Red Bull and Renault were scheduled to take part in the event - due to be held on March 29 - with Valtteri Bottas and David Coulthard - who conducted a promotional show run with Red Bull in South Africa last year - among the drivers past and present set to attend.

On Saturday, F1 Management confirmed the event had been postponed amid the global COVID-19 crisis but said it intends to reschedule at the “right time from a public safety perspective”.

“Due to the ongoing global situation regarding Covid-19, the Heineken F1 Joburg Festival due to take place on the 29th March has been postponed to protect the safety of all fans and participants attending the event,” an F1 statement read.

F1’s director of marketing and communications, Ellie Norman, added: “Following the announcement from the World Health Organisation categorising Covid-19 as a pandemic earlier this week, we have made the unfortunate decision to postpone the festival.

"Our fans’ health and safety is paramount and whist we know this decision will be disappointing for our fans we believe this is the right decision at this time.

“We would like to thank all our partners and those involved in making the event happen, and we are fully committed to returning to bring the excitement of F1 back to South Africa.”

The announcement follows the cancellation of this weekend's planned F1 season-opener in Australia, with upcoming races in Bahrain, China and Vietnam also postponed. 

 

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