Fans, Paul Ricard, 2021

Todt expects full spectator attendance at British and Austrian grands prix

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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FIA president Jean Todt expects full attendance will be possible at some Formula 1 races from July.

Attendance at F1 races has been strictly limited since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic last year. Many races have been held behind closed door with no fans present.

For this weekend’s French Grand Prix, 15,000 fans are being allowed into the Paul Ricard each day. Tost praised the work Formula 1 has done in arranging its calendar in spite of the pandemic.

“I usually say that it’s a difficult time but you see the strength together,” he said. “I think it has been an result of [co-operation] since we restarted the championship last July, almost one year ago, in Austria.

“2020 was a [17] race calendar, very creative. 2021 will hopefully be a 23-race calendar, again very creative.”

Formula 1 has already made several changes to this year’s calendar as a result of the pandemic, including bringing the French Grand Prix forward by a week to accommodate an extra race in Austria, following the cancellation of the Turkish Grand Prix.

“This week we should not have been here, incidentally, it should have been next week,” said Todt. “We are going to face three grands prix in a row every time it has been a problem a solution has been found.

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“So again thanks to the result of the great collaboration between Formula 1, FIA, the teams, you [media].”

Todt expects the second of two races in Austria will be able to welcome a full audience, as well as the following race at Silverstone two weeks later.

“Obviously it’s always pleasing when we see that here it’s in a location of 15,000 spectators,” he said. “I hear that next week’s first race in Austria will not be with full attendance, should be full attendance the week after. I also hear that the UK should be with full attendance. So we move towards concrete hope.”

Formula 1 is in discussions with the British government over how many spectators will be permitted at Silverstone and expects to confirm plans for attendance in the near future.

This weekend’s race is the first of four triple-header events which have been planned for this season. Todt hopes the easing of the pandemic means future calendars will be less congested.

“Of course, if we are back to normal, I think we will be able to have probably a more balanced calendar,” he said.

Lewis Hamilton said he was pleased to see so many fans at Paul Ricard after qualifying second for today’s race. “It warms my heart to see people coming together, finally, after a difficult period for us all,” he said.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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2 comments on “Todt expects full spectator attendance at British and Austrian grands prix”

  1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
    19th June 2021, 16:31

    Not to be pessimistic, but isn’t it to early for Europeans to sing this victory? The Indian strain has started to hit hard, so I wouldn’t be so eager to pack the stands, not just yet.

    1. I think I sadly have to agree there @omarr-pepper

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