Formula 1 says it is optimistic spectators will be able to be in attendance at the majority of grands prix in 2021 but expects the situation to vary depending on the respective country.
The bulk of grands prix in 2020 took place behind closed doors, with only those deemed essential to the event permitted.
However there is expectation that spectators will be allowed access to sporting events in 2021.
In the United Kingdom a date of May 17 has been set for the return of fans to venues, albeit this will be initially capped, and depend on several factors, including the status of the vaccine rollout.
“At this stage I’m still hopeful and optimistic that the bulk of the season will see spectators,” said Formula 1’s Global Director of Race Promotion Chloe Targett-Adams at the BlackBook Virtual Summit.
“I think it is obviously very territory-specific, location-specific.
“The UK government has done a great job with the vaccine rollout; it enables then for planning around the British Grand Prix with our Silverstone promoter.
“Feedback from the UK government at this stage [is] to enable that to go ahead on the basis with fans attending, capacity is to be determined and we’ll follow government lead on that.
“Equally other countries have a different trajectory. In my mind I’m seeing a more mixed year, it may not be a kind of gradual build-up through Q3 and Q4, but more of a ‘we approach each race and see where that particular territory is at that particular time’.
“In general we are hopeful by the end of the year, at least in the majority of locations, we should be having fairly – I hesitate to say large as we are still in a pandemic and there are variants and you don’t know– but meaningful crowds [and] operation of our hospitality.”
A limited number of grands prix took place with crowds in 2020 and Targett-Adams reckons lessons from those experiences will prove invaluable for 2021.
“In Portugal and Russia last year we could have Formula 1 events with around 30,000 fans,” she said.
“That provides us with a great framework to look at how we can make it safe as safety remains the number one priority.
“We know social distancing will remain, we have to be very clear with promoters and stakeholders that we are incorporating those requirements because otherwise it just won’t work longer term. [But] we’re hopeful and planning on fans being back this year.”