Hungaroring aiming to hold F1 race behind closed doors

Lewis Hamilton on his way to winning last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix

Hungarian Grand Prix organisers have expressed a desire to still hold the event, albeit behind closed doors, amid the country’s ban on mass gatherings.

Hungary will now prohibit events of more than 500 people at least until August 15, while the Budapest circuit had been set to host Formula 1 on July 31-August 2.

Organisers are nevertheless continuing with plans for the grand prix in the hope that it will be allowed without spectators.

“The Hungaroring team has been regularly liaising with Formula 1 — the series’ international rights holder — to explore all possible ways to stage (the race) in front of fans,” read a statement from the Hungaroring.

“However, in light of this decision this is unfortunately no longer possible.

“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 emphasized 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.

“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.”

F1 hopes to start its 2020 season at Austria’s Red Bull Ring, also without crowds, on its original date of July 3-5.

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