Portuguese GP to be held on May 2 at Portimao; no fans will attend Azerbaijan

F1 Portimao Azerbaijan
Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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PORTIMAO, Portugal — The Portuguese Grand Prix will be held May 2 at Portimao, according to Formula One officials who also announced Friday that the Azerbaijan F1 race won’t have a crowd.

No fans will be allowed at the Azerbaijan Formula One Grand Prix on June 6 because of ongoing concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It remains uncertain whether fans will be allowed at the Portimao Circuit amid the pandemic, but F1 said it is working with the promoter and the Portuguese government to find a solution.

“We hope to welcome fans to Portimao again this season in a safe way,” F1 president Stefano Domenicali said in a statement.

F1 had said in February that it hoped Portugal could fill the vacant slot on the record 23-race calendar.

Last year, the Portimao Circuit in the southern Algarve region played host to an F1 race for the first time in 25 years. There were 27,000 fans in attendance to see Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton make F1 history with his 92nd victory. He went on the clinch a seventh F1 title to equal Michael Schuamcher’s record.

The F1 season starts on March 28 at the Bahrain GP, where fans will be allowed if they have been vaccinated or if they can prove they have recovered from it, organizers said Thursday.

The Baku City Circuit which organizes the race said the decision not to allow fans “comes after extensive deliberation” with the Azerbaijan government, F1 and motorsport’s governing body, the FIA.

“Every opportunity has been explored to find a way to stage the race weekend in 2021 in a safe and responsible manner that would allow the return of fans to the fastest street circuit in F1,” the BCC said in a statement.

“However, while the global situation and pandemic response is continuing to improve, it has become clear that the 2021 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix race weekend has arrived too soon for BCC to safely host the event with fans present.”

The race, which is held on a windy street circuit through the city, was one of several canceled last year because of the pandemic.

Fans who bought tickets can use them next year at no extra cost, or apply for a refund.