Spanish GP to take place behind closed doors

Next month's Spanish Grand Prix Formula 1 will take place behind closed doors due to extended COVID-19 restrictions by the Catalan authorities.

Spanish GP to take place behind closed doors

Organisers of the May 9 race had been planning to allow a limited number of fans at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with ticket sales still underway this week.

But the Catalan health authorities have now barred the event from accepting spectators due to the current COVID-19 restrictions in the region.

Catalonia extended its latest countermeasure package, which includes closing its borders, until at least April 26.

Because there is no guarantee any of those restrictions would be lifted by the May 7-9 weekend, and it is therefore not clear if people would be able to enter and leave the region, hosting spectators at the Spanish Grand Prix is now out of the question.

"PROCICAT (the Catalan Civil Protection Office) has notified Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, that the Grand Prix cannot be staged under the conditions defined in the Spectator Access Protocol," the circuit said in a statement.

"Under these conditions, it is impossible to establish with absolute certainty whether or not the epidemic and welfare situation on 7, 8 and 9 May will allow for a further relaxation of the measures that do also restrict mobility at county level, which consequently would hinder fans from outside the Valles Oriental region from coming to the racetrack.

"Moreover, following the communication of the Departments of the Interior and Health of the Catalan Government, neither the epidemiological situation, nor, especially, the situation in hospitals allow expecting right now a review of the current measures or a relevant liberalisation, considering that the dates of the Grand Prix are quite close.

"Given this situation, the circuit management has proceeded to notify Formula One Management Limited that the Formula 1 Aramco Gran Premio De Espana 2021 will have to be staged without spectator attendance."

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The organisers added they would offer a refund to all tickets holders for the 2021 race.

Before the start of the 2021 season F1 was hopeful the majority of its 23 planned races would be able to host spectators to some degree.

The season opening Bahrain Grand Prix allowed fans who had been vaccinated against COVID-19, or those who had recovered from the disease, to attend the race.

This weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola is also being held behind closed doors.

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