Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya president Ramon Tremosa remains uncertain on the presence of fans at the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix.
A new one-year deal has been signed to keep the venue on the calendar, with the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix set to take place on May 9, Round 4 of the season.
However, uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic means that a second Spanish GP in as many years with no fans can’t be ruled out.
That being said Tremosa, who also serves as the Minister of Business and Knowledge of the Generalitat de Catalunya, remains hopeful that there could be as many as 100,000 spectators at the Spanish Grand Prix.
“There may be 20,000 spectators, 50,000, 100,000 or none at all,” mundodeportivo.com quote him as having told the EFE Agency.
“It will depend a lot on the vaccine and the effectiveness of the rapid tests and PCRs. We have the experience of last year’s Moto GP Grand Prix, where the 3,000 people who entered, journalists, mechanics and other staff, went two days before the race to have a PCR. During the race zero people were contaminated at the Circuit.
“At least there could be some public. We have been evaluating different scenarios. If we have a fourth wave due to Easter, it will be difficult, but if the incidence decreases as expected, we should be able to normalise the situation. Besides, the Circuit is outdoors.”
The 2020 Formula 1 calendar was forced into a complete overhaul after the outbreak of COVID-19, with several new and past Formula 1 venues added to the calendar.
As a result though the fees which tracks usually pay Formula 1 to host a grands prix were renegotiated, since many of the events took place with no fans in attendance.
One of those was the Spanish Grand Prix, and as a result their usual hosting fee was waived, something which Tremosa was keen to thank Formula 1 for when negotiating the new deal.
“During the negotiations to renew the contract, we were very grateful to Formula 1 for not making us pay the fee,” he explained.
“Also, this year the exchange rate gives us a positive difference. We have signed for 25 million dollars (£18.27 million) and we have economic impact studies that say that Formula 1 generates a multiplier effect of between 300 and 350 million euros between tickets, flights, overnight stays in hotels, meals in restaurants and so on. Most of that goes to the Barcelona metropolitan region.”
Tremosa did admit though that pre-season testing being moved from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to Bahrain, due to the Bahrain GP becoming the new 2021 season-opener, was another financial hit from the pandemic.
“Formula 1 is very interested in us because we are one of the circuits with the largest audience in the world. And it’s not just a local audience and they have a high purchasing power,” he said.
“So not operating normally means losing business. Not being able to have testing is one more impact of the pandemic.”
Asked if government investment in a Spanish Grand Prix was justifiable in the current times, Tremosa replied: “Getting out of Formula 1 is very easy, but getting back in costs a lot.
“And if we fell off the calendar, other Spanish and European regions, especially French and Italian, were very interested in taking our place.”