Turkey eyes 100,000 spectators, longer F1 deal

For Ferrari, the absence of the Tifosi at Monza this weekend may actually be a blessing.

Start, Turkish GP 2007
© The Cahier Archive

For Ferrari, the absence of the Tifosi at Monza this weekend may actually be a blessing.

Amid Ferrari's deep competitive slump, Sebastian Vettel was asked if he thinks the wildly partisan Italian spectators might actually boo the fabled team.

"I don't think we'd be booed," he answered. "The fans are probably suffering as much as the entire team.

"So if I had a choice I'd still bring the fans back, but right now it's not a choice for us. It's not possible."

Indeed, fabled Monza will be a strange spectacle as a 'ghost race' - but the spectator-less trend appears to be slowly changing.

At Mugello next week, there is approval for 2,880 socially-distanced spectators in the two main grandstands per day - even though the cheapest tickets are EUR 750.

After that, Sochi is targeting a half-capacity crowd of 30,000, the Nurburgring is hoping for at least 5,000, and Portimao and Imola want fans at the track.

And the newly-announced Turkish GP for November has announced that it could safely accommodate as many as 100,000 spectators.

"At the moment, around 100,000 spectators could watch the race in compliance with the distancing rules," said promoter Intercity's boss Vural Ak.

"However, we have to be prepared for anything. If the pandemic numbers become worse, the race can still take place without spectators."

Beyond that, Ak said the Istanbul venue would then like to keep hosting F1 beyond 2021, especially if the corona crisis means some contracted hosts are once again forced to cancel.

"The coronavirus pandemic caused some adjustments, and here we are on the calendar," he said.

"After the 2020 race, the parties will return to discussing a long-term contract. The Turkish president has given Intercity an order to bring Formula 1 back to Turkey.

"We did what we had to do, taking on all of the financial and operational costs."