The Azerbaijan GP scheduled for June 6 in Baku City has been confirmed by its organisers, but the sixth round of the 2021 F1 world championship will take place behind closed doors.
Baku was among the venues that was forced to scrap last year's event due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year's race has been given the green light for June 4-6, but no fans will be in attendance in the grandstands or around the scenic street circuit.
"This decision was taken in light of ongoing health and safety concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic and comes after extensive deliberation between BCC and the Government of the Azerbaijan Republic, F1 and the FIA," the race's promoter said in a statement issued on Friday.
"While the global situation and pandemic response is continuing to improve, it has become clear that the 2021 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix race weekend has arrived too soon for BCC to safely host the event with fans present."
F1’s Global Director of Race Promotion Chloe Targett-Adams recently expressed her hope that the "majority" of this year's events would welcome fans in the grandstands, although the campaign's early races remain at risk of being run behind closed doors.
Bahrain which is set to host F1's season-opening round later this month will open its gates to fans who have either been vaccinated for COVID-19 or who have recovered from the infection.
"We are, of course, thrilled to welcome F1 back to Baku after such a difficult period but we will deeply miss our amazing fans that have played a vital part in making this race weekend such a special occasion year after year," said Baku City Circuit executive director Arif Rahimov.
"Our message is as simple as it is heartfelt: we miss you and we will see you again!
"Our main priority this year will continue to be the health and safety of everyone working & participating at the event, whilst still delivering an awesome spectacle to for the world to savour watching from home.
"We are once again expecting no shortage of drama, high-speeds and excitement when F1 arrives back in Baku for the fifth time this summer, so please sit back, relax and enjoy the 2021 F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix and we will see you all again in person in 2022!"
Baku organisers indicated that fans who purchased tickets for last year's cancelled race will be eligible to roll their ticket over to the 2022 event at no extra cost.