Bad news for Formula 1 fans. For the second year in a row, the Spanish Formula 1 race will be held at Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya (May 7-9) without an audience, behind closed doors, due to the preventive anti-virus measures. It is applied in Catalonia. In other words: the circuit is left without its main source of input to face F1.
For the second year
The Spanish F1 GP in Montmelo for the second year should be held without an audience in the stands due to the anti-virus measures
The department announced on Saturday that the virus containment measures dictated by Procicat – in effect until April 26 – are preventing fans from entering the venue, because, among other things, they do not allow movement between regions (fans from outside Vallès, the eastern region) nor be able to apply Conditions stipulated in the Public Access Protocol, reduced to 50% the ability to maintain social distancing.
The department could not wait for a possible easing of the current measures by Procicat next week, because according to what the Department of Interior and Health at Generalitat informed the department, “neither the epidemiological situation nor especially in the hospitals allow the possibility to expect the procedures to be reviewed or released, taking into account the proximity of the Grand Prix dates.” . For this reason, the department, with no room to maneuver, chooses to keep the F1 GP behind closed doors and refund tickets to the public (on sale since February)
“It was increasingly difficult to have an audience in the stands, the foreign audience was already playing, and the Spaniards, with a regional confinement, were also unable to reach.”
As confirmed by L. Vanguard Ring director, Josep Louise Santamaría, “The numbers (the impact of the Coronavirus) are not improving and it was increasingly difficult to have an audience in the stands: UK fans could not come, from France until May 5, Netherlands until 16 … so it was The foreign public has already played, and the Spaniards, under the current circumstances of the regional confinement, could not reach either. “
Likewise, according to Santamaría, the department could not wait for the easing of the containment measures that could arrive next week in the form of the opening of the regional confinement. He explained that “Formula 1 is not ready within two days, you have to prepare areas, areas and parking spaces to preserve bubbles and social distances …
Barcelona does not have an “ anti-virus clause ” as in 2020, so Liberty Media is not obligated under the contract to waive the fees if there is no audience due to the pandemic.
The uncertainty that has now opened up concerns the economic sphere and leaves the ring in a state of weakness and dependence: in the F-1 renewal that it signed in December (only for the 2021 World Cup), Barcelona could not make the invitation An anti-virus requirement With Liberty Media exempt from paying fees (around 22 million euros) if the virus forces the doors to close. This was done in 2020, when F1 forgave the batch (or switched it to 2021, with the 2020 contract suspended).
“In the renewal of 2021, we were told that if there is no audience due to the circumstances, it will be dealt with in good faith and the issue will be studied. From December to April, the epidemic has not improved, so we have an open door to renegotiation. Now is the time to start talking to Liberty. They have been told over the phone (that there will be no audience) and they understand that due to the exceptional circumstances, “Santamaria explains to Vanguard.
Barcelona’s intention is to “try to make Formula One understand” the reasons for not having an audience (the organizer’s main source of income), and to convey goodwill to “take the test”, without leaving the World Cup in suspense, like them. Do other circuits last year. “We already know how to do that, as we did in 2020.”
The waiver or reduction from the law is in the hands of Stefano Domenicali, CEO of F1, with negotiations over the next contract renewal.