The Italian government has made a late decision to ban spectators from attending this weekend’s Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Fans had initially been granted permission to attend F1’s first race to be held at Imola since the 2006 San Marino Grand Prix, with the circuit given the green light to sell 13,000 tickets.

But a spike in new coronavirus cases across Western Europe, including Italy, has forced a U-Turn from Italian authorities to ensure the race is held behind closed doors.

On Sunday Italy’s government announced further restrictions, including the closure on restaurants and bars at 18:00 and a ban on spectators at open-air sporting events.

A late pushback from circuit officials to only allow 6,500 fans per day did not receive the approval required and on Wednesday it was announced that the race would go ahead without spectators.

A limited number of fans have been attending recent races at Sochi, Germany and Portugal as F1 continues its gradual bid to return spectators to events.

Like Imola, Turkish Grand Prix bosses have also had to abandon plans to allow spectators in to next month’s race, while fans will also not be permitted at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Bahrain Grand Prix organisers are continuing to monitor the situation before making a final call on whether it can host fans.

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will be held over a compressed two-day schedule comprising of a single 90-minute practice session and qualifying on Saturday, before the race takes place at 12:10 GMT (13:10 local) on Sunday.

 

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