Spanish Grand Prix officials have announced this year’s race will be staged without spectators as the region’s COVID-19 situation looks unlikely to improve.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is scheduled to host the fifth round of the 2021 season on May 9, but has been informed by government bodies that restrictions won’t be eased prior to the event.
It marks the second successive year the race will take place behind closed doors, with last year’s grand prix held in mid-August during the truncated 2020 campaign.
Organisers had hoped to welcome a limited number of fans, but on Saturday the circuit revealed it would run the race without spectators in attendance.
A statement read: “PROCICAT [the Catalan Civil Protection Office] has notified Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, that the Grand Prix cannot be staged under the conditions defined in the Spectator Access Protocol, as the current regulations in terms of public health for the containment of the epidemic outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic are effective until 26 April.
“Under these conditions, it is impossible to establish with absolute certainty whether or not the epidemic and welfare situation on 7, 8 and 9 May will allow for a further relaxation of the measures that do also restrict mobility at county level, which consequently would hinder fans from outside the Vallès Oriental region from coming to the racetrack.”
The circuit confirmed that all fans who have purchased tickets for this year’s event will be offered a refund.
Barcelona is the third race to announce its event will go ahead without spectators, joining this weekend’s round at Imola and Baku in June.
Recent reports suggest the Canadian Grand Prix in June is poised to be cancelled, although no official announcement has been made.