Early in September, it was announced the return of the FIA Formula One World Championship to the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit, after a nine-year hiatus, and with the presence of fans.
Scheduled to take place on November 15, the fourteen round of the series 2020 revised calendar, was expecting to welcome a number close to 100,000 fans to the stands of the Turkish circuit.
Nevertheless, on Monday morning, the Istanbul Governors office announced that the F1 DHL Turkish Grand Prix will take place behind closed doors, due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the country, and following on the recommendation of the Istanbul Provincial Pandemic Committee.
“It was decided that the race be held without fans”, reads the statement.
The Istanbul Park circuit is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, in Tuzla, and served as host for the Formula One Turkish Grand Prix between 2005 and 2011.
Sports Pundit contacted Istanbul Park operators for comment.
The circuits communications agency confirmed to Sports Pundit, the race will take place without the presence of fans, according to the measures taken by the governorship due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Furthermore, the agency also said that those who had acquired tickets for the event “will get their money quickly and completely refunded.”
Vural Ak, Chairman of the Intercity board commented last month on Formula One returning to Turkish soil: “Since the very first day we took over the management of Intercity Istanbul Park, every year we have organized more than 300 days of events, educational programs, and festivals related to motorsports, traffic safety, and the automotive sector.
“One of the key factors that led the management of Formula 1 to include Istanbul in its 2020 schedule was the fact that, throughout the past nine years, even when races were not taking place, we always kept the track active and prepared, as if races could resume at any moment.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), from January 3 to October 5, there have been 324,443 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Turkey; 8,441 deaths and 1,429 new cases registered, at the time of writing.
Image source: Intercity Istanbul City Park Circuit