F1 hoping for spectators at ‘bulk’ of 2021 races

Tom Rawcliffe
Silverstone grandstand PA

Silverstone grandstand PA

Formula 1’s global director of race promotion is optimistic that spectators will be present at most races in the 2021 season.

Last year was one like no other, with the health pandemic causing disruption worldwide and ultimately having an effect on the F1 calendar, with the race schedule reduced to just 17.

Crowds were absent at the vast majority of those race weekends, given the varying local restrictions at each host city.

Things are now beginning to look more positive though, with the effective release of vaccines, and that is one reason why Chloe Targett-Adams, the sport’s director of race promotion, is hopeful fans can return safely at most venues this season.

As quoted by Motorsport.com, she said: “At this stage, I’m still optimistic the bulk of the season will see spectators. And I think it’s obviously very territory-specific, location-specific.

“You look at the UK, we are in such a positive place, the government has done a great job with the vaccine rollout. It enables planning around the British GP with our Silverstone promoter and feedback from UK government at this stage [for] that to go ahead on the basis that there will be fans attending.

“Obviously capacities are still to be determined and we follow the government’s lead on that, but equally other countries have a different trajectory. In my mind, I’ve been seeing it more and more a mixed year.

“And it may not be a kind of gradual build-up through Q3 and Q4, but more we approach each race and see where that particular territory is at that particular time.

“But I think in general, we’re hopeful that by the end of the year, at least in the majority of locations, we should be having fairly – I hesitate to use the word large, because we are still in a pandemic and there’s variants you don’t know – meaningful crowds, and operation of our hospitality.”

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Crowds did return to some races during the second half of last season and Targett-Adams is confident they can use that as a guideline in planning how spectators can safely return in 2021.

“We were able, for example, last year in Portugal and Russia to have F1 events with around 30,000 fans,” she said.

“That provided us with a great framework to look to see how we can make sure it’s safe, because safety remains the number one priority.

“We know social distancing will remain. And we have to be very clear, working with our promoters and their stakeholders, that we are incorporating those requirements, because otherwise it’s just not going to work. So we are hopeful and we are planning on fans being back at our races this year.”

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