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Offbeat Government puts a stop: Imola comeback of F1 without spectators

16:50  28 october  2020
16:50  28 october  2020 Source:   motorsport-total.com

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Als die Formel 1 2006 zum letzten Mal in Imola fuhr, war der Ansturm groß © Motorsport Images When Formula 1 drove for the last time in Imola in 2006, the rush was great

After Sochi and recently Portimao , Imola actually had the plan , to let a fixed number of spectators on the track for his Formula 1 Grand Prix at the beginning of November. But in view of the increasing number of infections, nothing will come of it.

The route operator had received approval last month to sell 13,000 tickets and set up VIP hospitality for local sponsors and guests of the regional authorities. However, this week a decree from Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's office ordered a series of new corona measures.

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These provide for a stricter procedure against crowds at events. In addition, the closure of restaurants and cafes after 6 p.m. for the entire country was ordered.

No exemption for Formula 1

Efforts by the Governor of the Emilia-Romagna Region, Stefano Bonaccini, to obtain an exemption for the race failed. "The government has banned us fans and we are very disappointed about it," said Imola boss Uberto Selvatico Estense in an interview with 'Motorsport-Total.com'.

"We also very much regret the inconvenience this decision causes us. The Governor of Emilia-Romagna spoke to the Minister of Health today, but they refused to renounce the decree."

Imola had presented detailed plans to ensure effective social distancing through the distribution of fans in the stands. After the green light was given, money was poured into the necessary preparations.

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track manager: Last week everything was okay.

Admittedly, not all of the 13,000 tickets on offer had been sold in advance. In Imola, however, the rush was assumed to be delayed because people were still holding back in the event of a cancellation or some kind of audience restriction. But exactly this restriction has now occurred.

"It is not easy to explain to the fans that the government has changed their mind in a very short time, because only a week ago they confirmed that we can have fans," said Selvatico Estense. "So we carried on with the whole organization, with all the things that we had prepared."

The U-turn just four days before the event not only cost a lot of money, but also puts the route operators in need of explanation, the Imola boss fears.

Concern about incomprehension among fans with ticket

"It is a very short time to tell people that it is not possible to attend the event. (...) We will certainly have some difficulties with people who try to get in anyway. They bought a ticket and don't understand why they are now being excluded. "

A Formula 1 spokesman said to 'Motorsport-Total.com': "We were hoping to welcome fans to the race this weekend, but we fully understand and respect the decision of the authorities. We hope that our fans continue to enjoy the race from home. "

In addition to Imola, Turkey recently had to bury its plans to let up to 100,000 spectators at the track. The race on November 15th will take place behind closed doors. At the Eifel GP at the Nürburgring, spectators from certain areas were only allowed with negative test results.

Hamilton with the best time in the only Imola practice session .
Imola - Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton set the best time in the only free practice session at the shortened racing weekend in Imola. The Mercedes star and sovereign world championship leader distanced the Dutch Red Bull driver Max Verstappen by 0.297 seconds in 1: 14.726 minutes. Third place went to Hamilton's Finnish team-mate Valtteri Bottas (+0.492). © AFP Lewis Hamilton with best time in Imola Formula 1 is making its 100th stop in Italy this weekend, which is a record.

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