The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted sporting activities around the world. And now, the Turkish Grand Prix is set to bear the brunt of it, with the race now scheduled to take place behind closed doors.
From the time it was announced, over 40,000 tickets were sold for the event. Istanbul was all set to follow Nurburgring, Algarve, and Imola, to host the race with supporters in the stands.
But this latest decision was taken by Governorship of Istanbul on Monday. This was done in a bid to control the rising number of COVID-19 infections in the city and country.
Turkish GP will now be held without spectators
According to the latest statement from the Governorship, it revealed, “Within the scope of efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic, and in accordance with the recommendation of the Istanbul Provincial Pandemic Committee, the F1 Turkish Grand Prix will be held without spectators.”
The administrators at the Turkish GP were hoping that they could let in around 100,000 fans in total over the weekend. But this news would definitely have landed a blow to those plans.
However, desperate times do call for desperate measures. And the health and safety of the public, in general, takes precedence over all else. After all, fans can still witness the racing action from the comfort of their homes via broadcasts.
Recent history of the Turkish Grand Prix races
The last time the Turkish GP was held, Sebastian Vettel was still racing for Red Bull; in tremendous form, the 33-year-old German driver clinched victory on that occasion.
That win saw Vettel extend his lead over the challenger, Lewis Hamilton, to 34 points in the Drivers’ Championship standings. He would, of course, go on to comfortably lift the 2011 title.
But nearly nine years later, the tables have turned. Hamilton with Mercedes starts as the favorite for almost every race. Vettel, on the other hand, is struggling to even start in the top half of the grid.
However, it is a new location on this year’s calendar that adds to the intrigue. And it will be interesting to see who takes the initiative to steal the win this time at the Intercity Istanbul Park.