Oct.26 - Organisers of this weekend's race at Imola hope local authorities will not ban spectators from attending.

The Italian circuit was recently granted permission to allow 13,000 spectators to attend amid strict anti-covid protocols.

But with virus numbers rising across Italy and Europe more widely, it now seems possible that the authorities will withdraw that permission for fan attendance.

"We hope that the institutions recognise the opportunity to experiment with an innovative way of managing outdoor events," a source at the Formula Imola promoter is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"It would allow the continuation of economic activities that are otherwise destined for extinction, especially with a view to ensuring a future for the thousands of operators in this sector," the source added.

Formula Imola said that if spectators are barred from attending this weekend, "an adequate refund method" will be put into place.

With European covid case numbers now steadily rising, McLaren driver Carlos Sainz thinks it is inevitable that coronavirus will continue to crop up in the F1 paddock.

"Even when you take every possible precaution, you can still get the virus and for a driver that means missing one or two races," said the Spaniard, whose own country has just announced a new six-month state of emergency.

"We have seen in other sports that a lot of athletes are testing positive and I'm sure it's not because they are not taking precautions. It is because it is a virus that we still don't understand fully," he added.

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