Bahrain’s F1 races won’t be closed events after all

Jamie Woodhouse
Health workers to attend both Bahrain races.

Health workers allowed to attend Bahrain GPs.

Bahrain’s two Formula 1 races in 2020 will be closed to the public, but a limited number of health workers will be in the stands.

Since debuting on the Formula 1 calendar in 2004, the Bahrain Grand Prix has been almost ever-present, missing only 2011.

And due to the global pandemic in 2020, the Bahrain International Circuit is set to host two events. The first will be the traditional Bahrain Grand Prix from November 27-29.

And on the following weekend Formula 1 will contest its first Sakhir Grand Prix, but this time it will be held on Bahrain’s shorter ‘Outer Circuit’.

No tickets have been on sale for either event, but while the gates will still remain locked for fans, a limited number of places in the grandstands will be available for health workers and their families.

“I sincerely thank His Royal Highness the Crown Prince for his leadership, guidance and support as we prepare for Formula 1 in what will be a very different event for all involved,” said the circuit’s Chief Executive, Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, as quoted by

“Whilst we will not be able to welcome many fans to our events this year, we are delighted to have the opportunity to recognise the courage and efforts of our frontline healthcare workers and first responders by allocating all in-person attendance of the F1 experience to them.

“We are determined to put on a show for the hundreds of millions of people who will be watching from the safety of their own homes around the world.”

A ‘leaked’ provisional Formula 1 calendar for 2021 has the season starting in Bahrain and comprising a record 22 races, including a new grand prix in Saudi Arabia.
Start of the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix

It was a similar story for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, where health care workers were the only people allowed to attend the race, but at the following events fans started to come through the gates again.

A small attendance was permitted for the Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello, while the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi saw the biggest race day crowd with over 30,000 tickets put on sale.

The Eifel and Portuguese GPs which followed also welcomed fans into the stands, but new COVID-19 restrictions in Italy meant that the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix had to be closed to the public at short notice.

The Turkish Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will also be held without fans, meaning Bahrain is set to be the final stop on the calendar where there will be any kind of presence in the stands.

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