Two back-to-back Formula One grands prix scheduled for Bahrain in November and December will go ahead without a crowd other than the families of frontline health workers and first responders, organisers said on Saturday.
The races at Sakhir on 29 November and Dec. 6 will be the 15th and 16th of a season hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and come before the final round in Abu Dhabi.
The Bahrain International Circuit said in a statement that the races would be “predominantly without spectators”.
A limited number of grandstand seats would be allocated for the families of health workers “to recognise their incredible contribution and commitment in responding to the pandemic in the Kingdom.”
The first floodlit race, the Bahrain GP, will start at dusk on the usual 5.4km layout while the second, the Sakhir Grand Prix, will be held entirely at night on the 3.5km outer track that has not been used before for a Formula One race.
Mercedes have already wrapped up the constructors’ championship for a seventh year in a row while their driver and reigning champion Lewis Hamilton can take his seventh title in Turkey next week.
The race in Bahrain has traditionally drawn the lowest crowds with grandstands empty during the course of the weekend, a number closed off and never used.