Turkish grand prix event organisers have been forced to ditch their plans to hold their Formula 1 return this year with attendance of the fans due to rising Covid-19 fears.
The race which will be held at the Istanbul park from November 13th to 15th will still progress without the fans, behind closed doors following a statement issued by the the local Istanbul government. This comes after a recommendation was made by the pandemic committee which was in the approval of the sanitation committee.
“Within the scope of the efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic, and in accordance with the recommendation of the Istanbul Provincial Pandemic Committee, it has been decided by the Provincial Hygiene Committee, the Formula 1 DHL Turkish Grand Prix 2020 will be held without spectators.” the statement read.
The event organisers were previously very ambitious as they had planned to host a crowd of over 100,000 fans over the three race days, as early tickets sales were rising to over 40,000 due to the low price they had stipulated at £3 per day. The overturned decision is very understandable given the circumstances but it will be a major blow to the organisers as they are welcoming back Formula 1 in their country for the first time in nine years.
“Our season has been guided by a safety-first approach and that will continue to be our priority.”
“In Turkey, we had hoped to welcome fans but the situation in the country means this is no longer possible and we fully understand and respect the decision.” an F1 spokesperson said in regards to the announcement.
Looking back at the fan attendance in the previous races, Mugello was able to invite a limited number of fans as they were staging the Tuscan Grand Prix, while the Russian GP organisers had a plan to host 30,000 fans per day although the final numbers failed to reach their target. In the upcoming races, like this weekend’s Eifel Grand Prix which will be held at the Nurburgring , followed by the races in Portimao and Imola will be held with a limited number of fans in attendance.