Hungarian GP could only be held behind closed doors

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The Hungarian Grand Prix Promoter has announced that this year’s Budapest race could only be staged behind closed doors as a result of the government's recent decision.

The Hungarian government has announced the extension of several key measures aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus which includes the ban on mass gathering that will remain in force until at least August 15. The decision means that the Hungarian Grand Prix, scheduled for 2 August, can no longer go ahead as an event with spectators.

While the situation in Hungary has been under control after a set of restrictions was implemented in the middle of March, it was necessary to extend the current measures in order to avoid a possible explosion of the coronavirus outbreak as seen in other countries.

The Hungarian GP Promoter stressed that the decision to rule out a race with spectators has been taken as the health of fans, staff and championship participants has been the main priority.

"The health and well-being of all our fantastic Formula 1 fans, staff and championship participants has been and remains our primary concern throughout this period and with that in mind, we have regrettably been left with no choice but to reach this conclusion."

„We have continuously emphasised our willingness to work towards a safe solution that would allow us to welcome the entire Formula 1 family to the Hungaroring this August but it is now evident that any F1 race in Hungary can now only be held behind closed doors,” read the statement.

Hungaroring CEO Zsolt Gyulay indicated earlier that the circuit has been in daily contact with Formula 1, discussing a wide range of scenarios. Should the current situation improve, the facility located some 20kms away from Budapest could stage a ’ghost race’ that would not only allow the Formula 1 Championship to arrange a viable calendar after the long delay, but it would also contribute to Hungary’s image.

„While this is not an ideal scenario, we do believe that staging the event behind closed doors – which our fans can still watch on television – is preferable to not having a race at all. Furthermore, it will also ensure that a global audience of millions can still watch the race taking place in Hungary via F1’s vast international broadcast coverage. As such, we are continuing our working with Formula 1 to try and find a way to make this possible.”

The ticket holders were contacted by the Hungarian Grand Prix Promoter on Friday morning. The company has asked for patience and reassured those with a valid ticket for the 2020 Hungarian GP that they will be offered a full refund or the transfer of their pre-purchased ticket for the 2021 race around the Hungaroring.