The Azerbaijan Grand Prix will go ahead as scheduled this Formula 1 season but race organisers have confirmed the event is too soon in the calendar to safely host fans.
Last year's event was one of 10 that was eventually cancelled or postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but was reinstated this year with a June 4-6 slot.
Organisers had hoped fans would also be in attendance but have now confirmed in a statement the race will be staged behind closed doors.
It reads: "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," .
"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."
Azerbaijan officials have opted not to head down this route, seemingly with the race being a city-centre event, making it difficult to control.
Baku City Circuit executive director Arif Rahimov is at least relieved to welcome F1 back.
"We, 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 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!"
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