Turkish Grand Prix organisers have gone back on their original plans to have as many as 100,000 fans in attendance at the race.
After it was confirmed that Istanbul Park was to return to the Formula 1 calendar, Vural Ak, chairman of race promoters Intercity, revealed he was aiming for a six-figure attendance for the race.
“We were planning to fill the full capacity, 220,000 seats, under normal circumstances but it’s not possible with COVID-19,” said Ak, quoted by Motorsport.com at the time.
“We are passionate and enthusiastic about this sport and we can organise it successfully. But as you know, there is COVID-19. That’s why we hope to bring about 100,000 people.
“If the disease becomes worse than today, the race can be done without spectators. However, we know the capacity of this track. Around 220,000 spectators can watch the race in the grandstands and in the open areas.
“At the moment for safety reasons, if we close some sections, about 100,000 spectators will be able to watch the race by following social distancing rules.”
However, that now won’t happen.
As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise again in Europe, the authorities in Istanbul have decided that no fans will be allowed to attend the race in person.
“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 statement read.
The first eight races of the season all went ahead with empty grandstands. that changed at Mugello though when 3000 fans were able to attend the Tuscan Grand Prix.
Then, two weeks later, a total of around 30,000 spectators were present each day for the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi.
With a second wave of the virus looking more and more likely throughout most of Europe however, it’s unlikely that these numbers will be reached again before the end of the year.
No information has been released as of yet regarding fans who had already purchased tickets for the race in Turkey. However, as the event looks likely to be a one-off and won’t take place in 2021, all will presumably be issued refunds.