Belgian Grand Prix 2021: Will There Be F1 Fans in Attendance Amidst Rising COVID Fears?

Published 08/24/2021, 5:16 AM EDT
SPA, BELGIUM – AUGUST 26: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB13 TAG Heuer on track during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 26, 2017 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


With the summer break coming to a close, F1 is all set to flag off the 12th round of the 2021 season at the Belgian Grand Prix. Since May, most parts of the European continent have seen the situation surrounding the ongoing pandemic recovering steadily, and countries starting to ease the restrictions as well.

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And Belgium is one of them. COVID-19 cases have come down very significantly, which led to the Spa Francorchamps receiving permission from the government over hosting the Grand Prix with spectators.

How many fans will be present for the F1 race?

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A full house is absolutely impossible over the weekend, considering Spa is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic. Hence, as of now, the number of fans likely to attend the racing event is 75,000 each day.

The allowance of fans into the stands initially started in Austria this season, which witnessed a limited crowd. Hungaroring, too, had limitations over the number of spectators amidst rising Covid fears. However, Silverstone in the United Kingdom remains the only circuit to host an F1 Grand Prix with a full house.

Charles Leclerc of Ferrari during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)

Belgium has fixed the allowance at 75,000 spectators, but there are unsurprisingly restrictions to that too. Any spectators arriving from outside of Europe are strictly prohibited from entering the track.

Assuming the spectator is from around Europe, their entry into the stands depends on how they meet certain criteria. The spectator must provide a complete vaccination certificate.

If not, the spectator must provide a negative PCR test result dated less than 72 hours from the event. And there’s the final option. The spectator must present a certificate of recovery dated less than 6 months from the Grand Prix.

Doctors warn against allowing fans into the Belgian GP

Of course, the numbers are manageable at the moment around Belgium. However, there is no denying that the cases have started to rise again, which has left the medical field quite concerned over the potential aftermath of hosting the Belgian GP holding 75000 fans.

As reported by Telegraaf, Roel van Giel, spokesperson of Umbrella Organization Domus Medica, opened up that events like Belgian GP are not going to end well amidst rising COVID-19 fears.

The numbers are not going in the right direction. First, we saw an increase that may have been due to more testing. But you can’t say that anymore,” he said.

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Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – August 1, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton leads at the start of the race Pool via REUTERS/Peter Kohalmi

We also asked the general practitioners around and they see more infections and more patients. You can also see that in the positivity ratio that continues to rise. In concrete terms, we mean mass events such as Pukkelpop or Spa-Francorchamps. We didn’t think that was a good idea then and it still isn’t.

Overall, with less than a week away from the Belgian Grand Prix, will the rising concerns over COVID-19 play a crucial role in the spectators’ attendance? Well, we’ll know soon enough.

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Rohit Kumar

1157 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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