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Azerbaijan GP to take place behind closed doors

The promoters of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix have announced that this year’s Formula 1 race will take place behind closed doors.

The Azerbaijan flags hung prior to the start

The Azerbaijan flags hung prior to the start

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Following the cancellation of last year’s event at the Baku City Circuit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisers of the street race hoped to welcome fans back in 2021 after being handed a 4-6 June date slot.

But in a statement issued by the race organisers on Friday, it was confirmed that this year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix will take place without fans in attendance.

“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.”

2019 Azerbaijan GP fans

2019 Azerbaijan GP fans

Baku is the first race to announce it will not permit fans to attend a grand prix in 2021, with F1 staying hopeful it will have spectators at the “majority” of events this year.

Bahrain recently revealed that it will open its gates to fans who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or who have recovered from the virus.

Ticket holders for the 2020 Azerbaijan Grand Prix who rolled their ticket over to the 2021 race are permitted to do the same for 2022 at no extra cost.

“We are, of course, thrilled to welcome F1 back to Baku after such a difficult period 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,” said Baku City Circuit executive director Arif Rahimov.

“Our message is as simple as it is 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 & participating at the event, whilst still delivering an awesome spectacle to for the world to savour watching from home.

“We are once again expecting no shortage of drama, high-speeds and excitement when F1 arrives back in Baku for the fifth time this summer, so please sit back, relax and enjoy the 2021 F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix and we will see you all again in person in 2022.”

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