Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Italian government bans spectators from Imola

Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton during the Portuguese Grand Prix with large crowds watching in the stands

The Italian government has banned spectators from attending this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the historic Imola track.

Imola had hoped to allow 13,000 spectators into the track on Saturday and Sunday but the rise of coronavirus cases across Italy has forced a U-turn.

The government has banned crowds at events among a raft of other measures to slow the spread of the virus.

F1 said it “understands and respects the decision taken by the authorities”.

Imola is returning to the F1 calendar for the first time since 2006.

It held 27 consecutive races from 1980, first as a one-off stand-in for Monza as the host of the Italian Grand Prix and then from 1981 as a second race in the country with the title San Marino GP.

The circuit has won a place this year as a result of the major changes to the schedule caused by the pandemic, which has forced F1 to hold a largely European calendar.

The race will be held over a compressed two-day schedule over the weekend, with just one practice session on Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon.

The race is at 13:10 local time (12:10 GMT) on Sunday.

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