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

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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.

However, the Istanbul Governor’s office announced on Monday that the race weekend would be held without 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 race. Intercity Chairman Vural Ak said in a statement on Monday that all tickets would be fully refunded, and added “human health is all of our priority.”

“I am sure that even if it’s without fans, after the perfect hospitality we will show here, we will bring the races here next year and fill the stands together,” Ak said.

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

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.

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Arushi Sana is the Founder of Santerra Living and Co-Founder of NYK Daily. She was awarded the Times Power Women of the Year 2022 and Times Digital Entrepreneur of the Year 2023. Arushi is also a Sustainability Consultant for organisations looking to reduce their carbon footprint and also works with brands on social media to help them carve a presence in that niche. She holds a Degree in Computer Science Engineering from VIT University and a Diploma in Marketing Analytics from IIM Nagpur. Her interest in Sustainable Living and Interior Design led her to start a Sustainable e-Marketplace where customers can buy eco-furniture and eco-friendly products for everyday use. Arushi is a writer, political researcher, a social worker, a farmer and a singer with an interest in languages. Travel and nature are the biggest spiritual getaways for her, and she aims to develop a global community of knowledge and journalism par excellence through this News Platform.

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