Spectators will be allowed in to the Spanish Grand Prix after all, with permission granted for 1,000 to attend Sunday’s race.
The whole weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya had been expected to take place behind closed doors, as was the case for the two previous F1 events that have been held in Europe this year at Imola and Portimao.
But now, organisers have confirmed that a small number of fans can enter the venue as a state of alarm in Spain, which has been in place due to the ongoing global health pandemic, will be lifted on Sunday.
It means outdoor events can be staged with an attendance of either 50% of capacity or a maximum of 1,000 people, whichever number is lower.
Motorsport Week report that members of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will be able to apply for a ballot in order to watch the race from the venue’s main grandstand on Sunday.
Those present will have to wear face masks at all times and are prohibited from consuming food or drink, while a body temperature check will be undertaken upon entry.
“We are very satisfied to be able to make the first step towards a gradual opening of our facilities,” said Josep Lluis Santamaria, the circuit’s general manager.
“We can welcome again all those who love motorsport, even if this time it will only be a small number.”
Last year’s race, which was moved from its usual date in May to August 16, was held without spectators.
Formula 1 expect the presence of fans in 2021 to be determined on a country-by-country basis.
Fans were in the grandstands for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, won for Mercedes by Sir Lewis Hamilton, and were able to attend provided they could prove they had previously contracted COVID-19 or been fully vaccinated against the virus.
A final decision on fan attendance for the Monaco Grand Prix on May 23 has yet to be made, although it was reported last month that organisers were hoping to have an attendance of 40-50% of capacity including a stand dedicated to local hero Charles Leclerc.
Promoters of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in June have already chosen to stage the race behind closed doors, while Silverstone hope to have a sizeable crowd for the British Grand Prix which will feature the sport’s first ever Sprint Qualifying session.