Turkish GP to be held without spectators following government decision

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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Plans to welcome tens of thousands of spectators to next month’s Turkish Grand Prix have been
scuppered after the government ruled the race must be held behind closed doors.

The organisers of the event previously indicated over 40,000 tickets had been sold for the race. But a statement issued by the government on Monday said the decision had been taken to bar fans from attending as part of the country’s efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Doubt has been cast over the reliability of data showing how widespread the virus is in Turkey after it emerged asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 had been excluded from official counts.

Formula 1 is due to hold the 14th round of its reorganised championship at the Istanbul Park circuit on November 15th. It will be the first grand prix at the track since 2011.

An F1 spokesperson said: “Our season has been guided by a safety first approach and that will continue to be our priority. In Turkey we were looking forward to seeing fans but the situation in the country means this is no longer possible and we fully understand and respect the decision.”

The championship reported its highest number of Covid-19 cases among paddock members last week. A total of 10 positive cases were identified from 1,822 tests.

This coincided with the largest fan attendance at a race so far this year in Russia. However F1 said the rise in cases within the paddock was not linked to the return of fans.

This weekend’s Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurbrgring will be open to around 20,000 fans, and more than twice as many will be admitted to the following round at the Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “Turkish GP to be held without spectators following government decision”

  1. So at least two attendee-less events left, while Bahrain is still undecided.

  2. I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say we so miss those shots of the crowds reaction to an incident whilst the incident is still ongoing off broadcast.

    1. +1

      These shots crept into the coverage from Russia. Only minimally, thankfully…

    2. oh my god! i hate that!

      OR this year it’s like , an important battle is ongoing on the track and you only see it on a tiny window on the left of the screen between the position graphics, if you have anything smaller than a 70” TV too bad, you can ‘t really see it

    3. And to which channel do I switch now to see all those famous people, realising that I was so consumed by f1 that I did not even know who they were.

  3. This reminds me of a question that I keep meaning to ask: who’s paying for all these events behind closed doors? I’m thinking especially of Silverstone, where I believe the only way (in normal years) that they can cover the cost of hosting Formula 1 is through ticket revenue. This year they’ve had no ticket revenue and two races. Did FOM waive its fees?

    1. I think Keith has said that FOM has waived its fees this year, but maybe it doesn’t apply to all circuits. surely they’re asking for less money than last years though

  4. May still end up a record crowd.

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