The organizers of the Hungarian Grand Prix say their race will be held without fans if it takes place in 2020.
On Thursday, all events with more than 500 participants were banned by the Hungarian government until August 15, essentially ruling out the original race date of August 2. While the race organizers were still working on ways to host a race with spectators during the summer, they now admit it will not be possible this year.
“The Hungaroring team has been regularly liaising with Formula 1 — the series’ international rights holder — to explore all possible ways to stage (the race) in front of fans,” a statement from the Hungaroring read. “However, in light of this decision this is unfortunately no longer possible.
“The health and well-being of all our fantastic Formula 1 fans, staff and championship participants has been and remains our primary concern throughout this period and with that in mind, we have regrettably been left with no choice but to reach this conclusion.
“We have continuously emphasized our willingness to work towards a safe solution that would allow us to welcome the entire Formula 1 family to the Hungaroring this August but it is now evident that any F1 race in Hungary can now only be held behind closed doors.
“While this is not an ideal scenario, we do believe that staging the event behind closed doors — which our fans can still watch on television — is preferable to not having a race at all. Furthermore, it will also ensure that a global audience of millions can still watch the race taking place in Hungary via F1’s vast international broadcast coverage. As such, we are continuing our working with Formula 1 to try and find a way to make this possible.”
The race organizers are understood to be investigating whether the race can still take place before the August 15 deadline now it is designated as a closed event, but F1 is also considering a number of changes to the original 2020 calendar to try and host as many races as possible, meaning a later date is likely.