The Monaco Grand Prix could see fans return to the stands, albeit in limited numbers, says Formula 1’s chief executive officer Stefano Domenicali.
Speaking on Sunday, Domenicali revealed that organisers are keeping tabs on the current COVID-19 situation and are hopeful that a limited number of fans will be allowed to watch the on-track action live from the streets of Monte Carlo.
The Grand Prix, which takes place Sunday, May 23, is the biggest race weekend of the Formula 1 calendar, and attracts a huge global viewership, with the glitz and glamour of the race weekend adding to the tense on-track action as the drivers battle it out around the iconic street circuit.
And while Domenicali admitted the upcoming Grands Prix in Portimao and Barcelona will be closed to spectators, he remains hopeful that the situation may ease sufficiently to allow fans to be present at Monaco.
“We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis, which is changing hour by hour,” Domenicali told Sky TG24.
“In the next Grands Prix of Portugal and Spain, unfortunately we will not have anyone, but Monaco is presented as the first where a limited number of people should be admitted on Sunday.
“It gives us hope for the future, because if the situation improves there will be a gradual reopening and fans will have the opportunity to participate.”
The first Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain allowed a small number of vaccinated or COVID-cured fans into the stands to watch the opening race of the season, but with the series moving into Europe, COVID-19 restrictions make crowd safety a larger issue.
Monaco recently announced an easing of its COVID-related restrictions, but did not specify guidelines for the upcoming Grand Prix.
Formula 1 has adapted admirably to the challenges of COVID-19, with the on-screen product delivering excitement aplenty for race fans around the world.
But the one missing element from the past year in Formula 1 has been the presence of the passionate fans in the stands, roaring on their heroes.
Domenicali said he hopes that passion will soon be able to return to trackside in the near future.
“There is an incredible physical desire for Formula One, not just on television.”
The Monaco Grand Prix was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last running of the race, in 2019, was won by Lewis Hamilton, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.