New COVID-19 restrictions in Italy mean that the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will now have to take place without fans.
The original plan for the Emila Romagna Grand Prix, as Formula 1 returns to the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari for the first time since 2006, was to have 13,000 fans a day watching from the grandstands as the sport continues its move away from closed events.
However, just a week after the permitted attendance at the Portuguese Grand Prix was slashed, the Italian government have now ruled that no fans at all will be allowed through the gates for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
New restrictions announced on Sunday imposed rules such as bars and restaurants being forced to close at 18:00, while crowds are no longer allowed at open-air sporting events, the change which sealed Imola’s fate.
According to a report by Motorsportweek.com, officials at the circuit tried to save some fan presence for the event and “submitted a new proposal to allow only 6,500 spectators per day but this did not receive the required approval.
“On Wednesday it announced that its event, the first Formula 1 round at Imola since 2006, will be run behind closed doors.”
The report adds that “organisers are now evaluating the legal formalities relating to the extraordinary cancellation of the presence of public and hospitality and have promised to refund tickets within the shortest possible time.”
Although significant attendances were permitted for the recent F1 races at Sochi, Nurburgring and Portimao, now that Imola is barred from welcoming fans it means spectators are unlikely to be present again at a Formula 1 event until 2021.
Istanbul Park’s plan to have fans was ultimately shelved, while officials in Abu Dhabi confirmed several months ago that its season-ending event will be run behind closed doors.
Organisers in Bahrain, which will hold two races, are continuing to monitor the situation.
“Within the scope of efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic, and in accordance with the recommendation of the Istanbul Provincial Pandemic Committee, the F1 Turkish Grand Prix will be held without spectators,” a previous statement read when confirming that the Turkish Grand Prix would become a ‘closed event’.