Fans granted Monza return with 50% capacity

Jon Wilde
2019 Italian Grand Prix podium

2019 Italian Grand Prix podium

Italian Grand Prix organisers are planning to stage this year’s race at Monza with a crowd of 50% capacity.

The race weekend is scheduled for September 10-12 as the final leg of a European triple-header that kicks off the second half of the season, following on from the Belgian and Dutch Grands Prix.

It will also be the second experiment for the sprint qualifying format, which was initially trialled at the British Grand Prix.

Last year, a dramatic race at Monza which was among the highlights of the 2020 campaign was staged behind closed doors as Pierre Gasly won for the Italy-based AlphaTauri team, just holding off Carlos Sainz in the McLaren.

But now tickets are on sale for the 2021 edition to fans who have a COVID ‘green pass’, evidence of a negative test for the coronavirus within 48 hours of arriving at the venue or have recovered from the virus within the previous 180 days from first testing positive.

The ‘green pass’ also covers those who have been double-vaccinated against COVID-19 for a minimum of 14 days.

Monza is not only being opened up to domestic spectators but also those from outside Italy that are currently allowed to enter the country under government rules.

A statement in the ticketing section of the Monza circuit’s website said: “The fans have always been, since the beginning, an essential element of the Italian Grand Prix and thanks to their warmth and enthusiasm they have pushed the drivers from the stands, making them heroes of legendary feats.”

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The circuit will celebrate its centenary in 2022 and has been a mainstay on the Formula 1 World Championship calendar since 1950, the year the sport was born.

The last two renewals of the Italian Grand Prix will give the tifosi hope that they can celebrate another memorable day for their beloved Ferrari, albeit for different reasons.

In 2020, Sainz, who has now joined the Scuderia, showed his aptitude for the circuit by qualifying his McLaren in third place on the grid behind the Mercedes duo and was challenging Gasly for victory at the end.

The previous year, Ferrari won at the Theatre of Speed for the first time since 2010 when Charles Leclerc took the chequered flag less than a second ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Twelve months later, during a poor spell for his team, the Monegasque driver crashed at the Parabolica, bringing out red flags that transformed the course of the race and ended Lewis Hamilton’s hopes of an easy success as he was penalised for illegally entering the pit lane.