The promoters of the Turkish Grand Prix have said they are “ready for anything” as they bid to bring 100,000 fans back to November’s race, while the Russian edition this month has “slowly resumed” ticket sales for the Sochi event.
The vast outdoor Istanbul Park setting can accommodate around 220,000 fans in the grandstands and open areas, leaving bosses hopeful that they could host what is likely to be the most heavily-attended sporting event in the world since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Organizers are charging around $4 for day tickets to the first Formula One event at the venue since 2011, although they admit that a spike in coronavirus cases could cause an abrupt change of plan.
“We have to be prepared for anything,” Vural Ak, the founder of promoters Intercity, told motorsport.com, adding that a bumper crowd would be allowed in even in the event of sections of the site being closed to enforce social distancing rules.
“If the disease becomes worse than today, then the race can be done without spectators.
“Formula One normally has certain standards and ticket prices are at a certain level…we do not seek to gain financial advantage from this and the government has encouraged us.
“Tickets will be on sale next week and we think [they] will sell very quickly.”
All Formula One events this season have been closed to fans, despite the best efforts of a busload of supporters of Max Verstappen fans to travel to the home of the Belgian Grand Prix at the weekend, when they were turned back by police as they neared the venue.
The Russian Grand Prix in Sochi could become the first race to welcome the return of fans on the weekend of September 25, and the Tuscan Grand Prix is also an option two weeks earlier.
“For three months we have not been engaged in ticket sales at all,”said Alexey Titov, the Executive Director of Russian Grand Prix promoters Rosgonki.
“Now they are slowly resuming, taking into account the government’s announcement that the race will take place, and with our recent announcement of the entertainment program.
“It is probably premature to talk about the current number of sold tickets. But the picture is more clear about general restrictions due to the coronavirus situation.
“At the moment, we’re discussing the figure of 50 percent of the total capacity of the Olympic Park – that is, our stands and the Olympic Park as a whole.
“This will mean that the maximum number of fans will be no more than 30,000 to 32,000.”
Titov admitted that the event will “definitely not be a usual one” in the absence of pit-lane walks, autograph sessions and other fixtures of the experience for fans and viewers.
“In the near future, we will definitely announce how we will replace this part of the entertainment program,” he added.
“We have several ideas, the details of which we are now finalising with Formula One, but of course there will be certain replacements.
“[Regarding] the FIA coronavirus protocol…the race in Russia will be no different from other races.
“The only difference is that the fans can come to the stands and cheer for their favourite drivers.”