The grandstands at Monza won’t be completely empty for the Italian Grand Prix thanks to a wonderful gesture from Ferrari.
The Scuderia has invited 250 doctors and nurses to attend their home race as a thank you for all of their efforts in battling the Covid-19 epidemic over the course of the year.
Italy has been one of the worst-affected countries in the world throughout the epidemic and Ferrari want to give back to those on the front line.
Ferrari said: ‘Like all the other races run so far this year, the Italian Grand Prix will be held behind closed doors and therefore there will be no traditional track invasion by the fans at the end of the race.
‘However, there will be 250 very special people in the grandstands, socially distanced of course: doctors and nurses will be guests at the track, as a symbolic honour for their courage, sense of duty and altruism as front line workers in the fight against Covid-19.
‘The first race which will let in a small number of spectators will be the Toscana-Ferrari 1000 Grand Prix, which takes place the following weekend at the Mugello Circuit, where just under 3000 spectators will watch from three grandstands.’
Even with some people present in the grandstands, Sebastian Vettel – in his last Italian Grand Prix as a Ferrari driver – thinks there will still be a “surreal” atmosphere at the circuit.
“Monza is one of the most famous Formula 1 tracks in the world,” he said.
“This season, racing at the Autodromo Nazionale will seem very strange, because without fans, there will be a surreal atmosphere. Plus we come to Monza knowing it’s going to be tough to be a frontrunner this weekend.
“The last race here was anything but straightforward for me and we are well aware that will also be the case this time.
“We have a specific aero package that we hope will make the SF1000 more competitive. Nevertheless our aim this weekend is the same as always: to make the most of our package and bring home as many points as possible.”
Charles Leclerc added: “Last year I experienced the most emotional moment of my racing career here in Monza.
“This time around, the grandstands will be empty, as our fans, who made the podium ceremony so unforgettable, unfortunately can’t be there with us.
“We are not as competitive as last year, so it will be a difficult weekend. All the same, we are not lacking motivation for this round. We will all pull together to bring home the best possible result.”
In addition to actual humans in the grandstands, Monza officials have organised cardboard cut-outs – aka ‘crowdies’ – to add some colour to the weekend.
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) September 3, 2020