Belgian GP gets the go-ahead for race behind closed doors

Belgian Grand Prix organisers have received a green light from the government to host a round of the F1 world championship behind closed doors at Spa on August 30.

The event’s presence on the 2020 calendar was put in doubt by Belgium’s decision to ban all public events until September 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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But according to Belgian broadcaster RTBF, government authorities will permit the race to take place without any spectators, a decision that now allows organisers to engage in discussions with Liberty Media to determine the commercial terms of the event.

    Provisional 2020 F1 calendar discards three main venues

With organisers deprived of ticket sales and vendor concession fees for races held behind closed gates, Liberty is expected to foot the bill for some or all European races that will hopefully take place this summer, while fly-way events would pay a significantly reduced fee.

For now, F1 is still working on an early July start to the season, with a double weekend of racing taking place at the Red Bull Ring in Austria followed by a similar format at Silverstone.

However, the British circuit and Liberty are reportedly locked in a financial standoff, with Liberty currently refusing to meet Silverstone’s money demands.

If negotiations fail between the two parties, Hockenheim could step up to the plate and offer to host a double-header event.

A provisional – and likely overly optimistic – 2020 calendar has been put together by sources close to F1. The schedule includes 19 events but excludes Canada, Singapore and Holland.

However, with lockdown measures easing across Europe, the focus is now on monitoring either a continued reduction of the number of Covid-19 cases or a flare-up of the disease.

Needless to say, the threat of a rebound of the propagation or a second wave would wreak havoc on F1’s plans to put itself in gear this summer.

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