The Principality of Monaco is ready to welcome the 78th edition of the iconic Monaco Grand Prix with a limited number of spectators in the grandstands.
On Tuesday, a statement by the Government of the Principality has been issued, regarding public attendance, taking into account health and safety measures.
“It is important that it [the event] is held with both a minimum participation of the public and the highest sanitary conditions,” said the Minister of State Pierre Dartout.
According to the statement, anyone wishing to access the circuit enclosure must have a valid ticket and a negative PCR test of less than 72 hours.
Opening of all seated stands limited to around 40% of the stands (7,500 spectators/day) except on Friday.
Unlike the Historic Grand-Prix and the Monaco E-Prix, access to the circuit is not limited to residents, employees, schools, local students, or people staying in a hotel in the Principality, as there are no restrictions on the spectators’ origin.
However, only Monaco residents, employees, and schools or students are exempt from the obligation to present a negative PCR test of less than 72 hours.
On Friday, only the K and T grandstands will be open to welcome fans on-site (3,000 people maximum), both sited along Port Hercule.
As on previous grand prix days, there will be no restrictions on the origin of the public attending, and the same protocols apply.
The fifth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship will take place from May 20 to 23.
A YEAR LATER
In 2020, the traditional Grand Prix de Monaco Historique and the Monaco Grand Prix had to be canceled due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
This year, the Principality is home to three different racing events in a month.
The action began last weekend (23-25 April) with the 12th Grand Prix de Monaco Historique.
The 4th Monaco E-Prix follows May 8; it will be the first time the all-electric series uses an expanded circuit layout - 3.320km (2.060 miles), and from May 20-23, the 78th Grand Prix de Monaco F1 will steal all of the lights.
The task of the organizers would not be easy, as Christian Tornatore, the General Commissioner of Automobile Club de Monaco, explained back in February.
“Organising three races in the space of one month will be a premiere for us all at ACM. The logistical side promises to be complex but not impossible to manage!
“We will then integrate the technical aspects, on and around the track, required by every category that will be involved. In order to achieve this, we will count on the experience and flexibility of all the people involved to achieve our objectives,” Tornatore said.
Assembly work started at the end of that month - early than usual, including spectators stands, despite the questions marks on whether the presence of spectators would be allowed into the events.
And there were plenty of reasons to wonder; the second smallest country in the world, after the Vatican, experienced a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases early in 2021, which led the local Government to extend the state of health emergency until early in May.
Due to the restrictions in place, the traditional tennis tournament, ATP Monte-Carlo Masters 1000 (10-18 April), took place behind closed doors.
However, by mid-April, the health situation had improved, leading the Government to relax the curfew.
At the time, the Minister of State Pierre Dartout stated: “The health situation shows that the measures put in place have slowed the circulation of the virus. If the numbers are improving, we need to remain vigilant and cautious.”
The recent announcement opens a new chapter in one of the most iconic tracks in the world. It might be a different racing weekend this season, but the presence of the fans, regardless of how many, brings racing to life in a very singular way, one that tv screens cannot replace.
Regarding the action on track, that is guaranteed, along the narrow streets and tricky corners of Monaco.
A REMAINDER FROM ACM
“The Automobile Club de Monaco remains vigilant and informed of the development in the international health situation.
“All precautionary measures will be applied and taken to ensure a better safety for our spectators and guests.”
AND THE WINNER IS…
The Briton currently leads the 2021 F1 driver’s championship with 69 points, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with 61 points.
This weekend, the action from last weekend in Portugal continues in Spain, with the upcoming fourth round of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix held at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.