Organisers of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix have confirmed that this year’s Formula 1 race will be held as a closed-door event.

Baku is returning to the F1 calendar this season after being one of the races that was forced to drop off the 2020 schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement issued on Friday, the promoters of the Azerbaijan race announced on Friday that the Baku City Circuit will one again host F1 this year but that the event will take place behind closed doors without spectators.

“This decision was taken in light of ongoing health and safety concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic and comes after extensive deliberation between BCC and the Government of the Azerbaijan Republic, F1 and the FIA,” the statement reads.

“While the global situation and pandemic response is continuing to improve, it has become clear that the 2021 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix race weekend has arrived too soon for BCC to safely host the event with fans present.”

Azerbaijan is the first race to confirm it will not be possible for fans to attend this year’s event, but the announcement comes as little surprise given the circuit’s city-based location.

The decision raises questions as to whether races in Monaco and Singapore will also have to take place behind closed doors in order to go ahead safely.

On Thursday, the Bahrain International Circuit launched ticket sales for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on 28 March, but only for fans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or recovered from the virus.

F1 hopes to allow fans to attend the majority of races this year, with Imola and Portugal already outlining their intention to host spectators for the second and third rounds of the season.

“We are, of course, thrilled to welcome F1 back to Baku after such a difficult period,” BCC Executive Director Arif Rahimov added.

“But we will deeply miss our amazing fans that have played a vital part in making this race weekend such a special occasion year after year. Our message is as simple as it its heartfelt: we miss you and we will see you again!

“Our main priority this year will continue to be the health and safety of everyone working and participating at the event, whilst still delivering an awesome spectacle to for the world to savour watching from home.”



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