Formula 1: Hungarian Grand Prix to be held without fans

Britain's Hamilton Hamilton won the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix

Hungarian Grand Prix organizers said the race will be held without spectators this year, as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The country's government on Thursday announced a ban on all meetings of more than 500 people until August 15.

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The organizers said they "sought every possible way" to organize the event with fans, but that "was no longer possible".

They added: "It is now evident that any F1 race in Hungary can now only be held behind closed doors."

The statement said that running a race without spectators "was not an ideal scenario [but] we believe that holding the event behind closed doors – which our fans can still watch on television – is preferable to not having any race.

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"In addition, it will also ensure that a global audience of millions can still watch the race in Hungary through F1's vast international coverage. As such, we continue to work with F1 to try to find a way to make this possible." "

A race at Hungaroring is part of Formula 1’s plans to revive the 2020 championship this summer, when conditions in sufficient countries allow.

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The race was originally scheduled for August 2, but the F1 calendar was almost completely destroyed and the published dates were effectively irrelevant, as the sport's chiefs seek to reshape the season and fit in enough races for a legitimate championship.

Hamilton won in Hungary seven times more than any other driver

Participants told BBC Sport that Hungarian organizers are confident that their race could go ahead on a date in late summer.

The organizers believe that the Grand Prix could be held as a closed event and receive more than 500 people, as, without the spectators, it would be classified as a broadcast operation and not as an event.

And the date they are working with F1 is after the current restrictions have ended.

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Hungary became the second race to announce that it will be held without fans, after Silverstone.

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F1 bosses plan to start a season with two races on Austria's Red Bull Ring on July 5 and 12, followed by two at Silverstone on July 19 and 26.

There would be a week off before more races in Europe.

Hopes for a race in France, despite the cancellation of the French Grand Prix earlier this week, were apparently dashed when the country banned all sporting events, even those behind closed doors, until the end of August.

But Spain and Italy are among the European countries, in addition to Hungary, which could host races, before F1 heads to Russia, Azerbaijan, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East, as long as the virus situation in those areas allows at that time.

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