F1: Turkish GP to be held without fans due to COVID-19

Formula One's Turkish Grand Prix next month will be held without spectators due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Istanbul governor's office said.

A general view of Intercity Istanbul Park ahead of Turkish Grand Prix.   -  Reuters Photo

Formula One's Turkish Grand Prix next month will be held without spectators due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Istanbul governor's office said on Monday, as the event returns to Istanbul after an absence of almost a decade.

The Turkish Grand Prix, scheduled for Nov. 13-15, was put back on the Formula One calendar in August. Turkey last hosted a race in 2011 at the Istanbul Park circuit, which was popular among drivers but attracted small crowds.

In order to boost attendances, Istanbul Park's operators Intercity had sold tickets at record-low prices for the 2020 weekend and announced that as many as 100,000 fans would be allowed in.

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However, the Istanbul Governor's office announced on Monday that the race weekend would be held without any fans amid a rising trend in coronavirus cases and deaths in Turkey, based on a recommendation by the Istanbul Provincial Pandemic Council.

“It was decided that the race be held without fans,” the governor's office said in a statement.

Tickets went on sale in early September, with organisers and officials saying there was great interest in the event.

The only current drivers to have won at Istanbul Park are former champion Kimi Raikkonen, six-times world champion Lewis Hamilton and four-times champion Sebastian Vettel.

Intercity hopes to achieve a lasting place on the F1 calendar after this year's race, despite several rounds of unsuccessful talks between the sport and the Turkish government.

Intercity was not immediately available for comment.

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