The Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku will go ahead as planned as part of the Formula 1 2021 season, but fans will not be allowed to attend the event.
The increasingly popular street race was one of many forced to cancel their 2020 plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet it will be a position to return this year and fulfil the June 4-6 date it was given by Formula 1 on the provisional 2021 calendar.
However, in order to meet the obligation this year, this particular Grand Prix weekend will have to take place behind closed doors.
“This decision was taken in light of ongoing health and safety concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic and comes after extensive deliberation between BCC and the Government of the Azerbaijan Republic, F1 and the FIA,” said the Azerbaijan Grand Prix race organisers via a statement.
“While the global situation and pandemic response is continuing to improve, it has become clear that the 2021 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix race weekend has arrived too soon for BCC to safely host the event with fans present.”
Baku City Circuit executive director Arif Rahimov said the fans will be missed, but those that did book or rollover their tickets from the cancelled 2020 event have the opportunity to do so again when hopefully normality is restored in 2022.
“We are, of course, thrilled to welcome F1 back to Baku after such a difficult period but we will deeply miss our amazing fans that have played a vital part in making this race weekend such a special occasion year after year,” Rahimov said.
“Our message is as simple as it is heartfelt: we miss you and we will see you again!
“Our main priority this year will continue to be the health and safety of everyone working & participating at the event, whilst still delivering an awesome spectacle to for the world to savour watching from home.
“We are once again expecting no shortage of drama, high-speeds and excitement when F1 arrives back in Baku for the fifth time this summer, so please sit back, relax and enjoy the 2021 F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix and we will see you all again in person in 2022.”
Meanwhile, there are set to be fans present at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, with organisers confirming that those who can show they have had two Covid-19 vaccine shots are able to attend the Bahrain International Circuit from March 26 – March 28.