Azerbaijan Grand Prix to go ahead without spectators

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan - April 28, 2019 General view after the start of the race REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

(Reuters) - The Azerbaijan Formula One Grand Prix in Baku will go ahead without spectators in June after being cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers said on Friday.

A statement said it was still too soon for fans to attend safely, and tickets from 2020 would be valid for 2022 provided no refund had been sought.

“Our main priority this year will continue to be the health and safety of everyone working and participating at the event,” said promoter Arif Rahimov.

The race had a reported three-day attendance of 85,000 in 2019, with overseas visitors accounting for almost a quarter.

It is scheduled to be the sixth round of the 2021 season, the June 6 date sandwiched between Monaco and Canada.

Azerbaijan is the first grand prix so far this year to confirm it will be behind closed doors. Most were held without spectators last year.

The season starts in Bahrain, where tickets for the March 28 race are being sold to fans who have been vaccinated or have recovered from the virus.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis