Formula 1 is set to stage the largest spectator-attended sporting event since the coronavirus pandemic began with 30,000 fans expected at the Russian Grand Prix.

The opening eight rounds of the revised 2020 season were each held as ‘closed events’ without spectators as F1 got its heavily delayed campaign off the ground in July amid strict COVID-19 protocols.

Ferrari invited a group of a few hundred medical workers to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza earlier this month, while the recent Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello allowed around 2,000 fans in for the first time.

F1’s first standalone event of 2020 will see the biggest attendance so far, with the Sochi Autodrom opening its doors to an expected crowd of 30,000 spectators across the three days. The Black Sea resort venue has a capacity of 55,000.

It comes just days after the UK government announced it is postponing plans to bring fans back to sporting arenas amid a rise in coronavirus cases across the nation.

Russia is one of just four countries in the world to register more than one million COVID-19 cases.

So far F1 has managed to get through the opening nine races with just a handful of positive cases, all of which have been swiftly dealt with to avoid a repeat of the 11th hour cancellation of the planned season-opener in Australia back in March.

In order to minimise risks, fans attending the Russian Grand Prix must adhere to certain protocols, including the wearing of masks and mandatory temperature checks upon arrival.

Those in attendance must also observe social distancing guidelines which will be enforced with a one-way system within the venue.

Each spectator will be designated a specific seat away from other fans and anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 has been advised to stay away, with those from high-risk areas not permitted access.

F1 is about to embark on a run of events that will permit fans to attend, with the likes of the Nurburgring, Portimao and Imola all selling tickets.

The Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring is set to take place in front of 20,000 fans on 9-11 October.

Race organisers at Portimao are aiming to host 45,000 fans per day in what will mark the Algarve circuit’s inaugural grand prix, while Imola will permit around 13,000 spectators.

The returning Turkish Grand Prix looks set to surpass Russia as the highest-attended race of the year providing it meets its target of 100,000.

Bahrain is yet to confirm whether fans can attend the double-header event, while the season finale in Abu Dhabi will run behind closed doors as per the first eight races.

 

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