It is interesting to note that in the last few days the word has leaked out that construction work will begin on the Monaco street circuit at the start of next week. The work involved is considerable with vast amounts of steel barriers and wreckage fencing, in addition to grandstands, the pit buildings and the race control building. It costs a lot of money to do.
The fact that Monaco has decided to go ahead suggests that the government is willing to risk losing the money if there is a third wave of COVID infections. The construction work normally takes seven weeks, while the Grand Prix itself is not scheduled until May 23, which is three months away, but the work is starting early so that the track can go ahead with a planned historic GP on April 25 and with a Formula E race on May 8. Most of the people required to do the constuction work will come from Monaco, France or Italy. Officially Monaco has had only 1,835 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, with just 22 deaths, but this is only amongst the 39,000 actual residents. There are around 48,000 people who travel in and out of the Principality every day to work. This number may have reduced with the French lockdowns and remote working, but a few hundred construction workers will not make much difference. Hopefully, this will mean that the race can go ahead, although as Monaco is completely surrounded by France, there is also a risk that new French rules might disrupt the event.
France has also decided that despite the continuing pandemic events will be allowed this summer, although attendance will be capped at 5,000 people and all those spectating must be seated. The rules apply to both indoor and outdoor activities. At the moment France has a curfew between 6pm and 6am and all restaurants, bars, museums, theatres and concert halls are still closed and all gatherings are limited to 1,000 people. The Ministry of Culture says that if the health crisis gets worse again, the cap on crowds and other safety rules might need to be changed. The government says that it has a €30 million fund to compensate events which are forced to cancel or change their plans.
It remains to be seen where this leaves the French GP, which is scheduled for June 27 at Paul Ricard, but if there is a cap of 5,000 spectators the funding is going to need to be looked at again to see if the event can be viable.