Singapore F1 organisers say 'not feasible' to hold race behind closed doors

Singapore F1 organisers say 'not feasible' to hold race behind closed doors

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc leads at the start of the race
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc leads at the start of the race during the Singapore Grand Prix on Sep 22, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Tim Chong)

SINGAPORE: Singapore F1 organisers said on Monday (May 18) it was "not feasible" to hold the race behind closed doors, threatening further problems for the coronavirus-ravaged season. 

After 10 races were cancelled or postponed, Formula One bosses are aiming to begin the season with two races in Austria in July, both without fans. Races in other countries are also expected to go ahead in closed venues.

But the Singapore Grand Prix, scheduled for September, is a nighttime street race around the country's waterfront, where it would be challenging to keep spectators away.

Organisers said they have been in talks with Formula One, the Singapore government and others involved "to assess different possibilities" for holding the race.

But a spokesperson added that "as the Singapore F1 race is a street circuit, it is not feasible to conduct the race behind closed doors".

READ: Formula 1: Belgian GP could be held behind closed doors in August

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel won last year's race, which drew 268,000 spectators over three days, a substantial portion of them coming from overseas.

Work on the street circuit, which requires "considerable temporary infrastructure", typically takes three months, organisers said.

"We will continue to keep a close watch on developments. Our utmost priority remains the wellbeing and safety of our fans, staff, volunteers, and all Singaporeans," the spokesperson said.

Like many other countries, Singapore has ordered the closure of most businesses, advised people to stay at home, and banned large gatherings as it battles a virus outbreak.

The country has reported more than 28,000 infections, most of them among foreign workers living in crowded dormitories.

Authorities have said they may start relaxing some of the COVID-19 restrictions from early June.

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Source: AFP/ec

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