Motor racing: Spa given green light for Belgian GP without spectators

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Belgian Grand Prix - Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot, Belgium - August 29, 2019 General view of the track ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix REUTERS/Johanna Geron/

(Reuters) - The Belgian Formula One Grand Prix, scheduled for the end of August but threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic, can go ahead without spectators, regional authorities said on Friday.

The Formula One season has yet to start, with three races cancelled and seven postponed, but series organisers are planning to get going in July with two races behind closed doors in Austria.

The government has said no sports or cultural events can take place before June 30 but sports clubs can resume training in the presence of a coach and with no more than 20 people present from May 18.

“The Belgian Grand Prix can be held behind closed doors, as well as all the necessary prior training,” the Belgian region of Wallonia said in a statement.

The Spa-Francorchamps circuit said on its website that it had implemented health and prevention measures to comply with directives.

Formula One has yet to publish a revised calendar, with commercial rights holders Liberty Media aiming for a reduced schedule of 15-18 races running into December and possibly even January.

Belgium was scheduled for Aug. 30 on the original calendar.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Christian Radnedge