Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg has been pushed back from its original dates in early March to April 23-25.
“I want to thank our friends at IndyCar and our partners at Green Savoree for putting the health and safety of fans first. Each of these races takes an incredible amount of work from hundreds of dedicated professionals, and I know the decision to move the date of the race is not made lightly,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said in a statement released Wednesday. “I appreciate the drivers, teams, staff, and most of all the fans for their patience and understanding. I look forward to welcoming everyone to the next Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.”
The Grand Prix traditionally marks the opening of the NTT IndyCar season. In 2020, it was one of the first major events to be canceled due to the pandemic. The race was ultimately rescheduled for late October as the final event in the season and was limited to 20,000 fans to promote social distancing and safety.
Speaking to the Catalyst Wednesday, Kriseman said that last year’s decision to push the race back was driven by data.
“The idea was to try and get to a point where we were comfortable and felt that we felt like we had a good control of what the numbers looked like,” he said. “From a scientific and healthcare standpoint, we felt like we had data that backed up our decisions, which we always try to do.”
Organizers say they weren’t surprised that the race was impacted by Covid-19. However, they’re pleased that they’ll be able to have the event at all.
“We’re delighted we were able to work with Mayor Rick Kriseman’s administration and Green Savoree Racing Promotions to find a more suitable date, which helps consolidate the beginning of our schedule and allows us to stay on NBC network television,” said Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles.
The Grand Prix is held in downtown St. Petersburg in an 84-acre, 3.6 million square foot open-air venue, built around a 1.8 mile race track. Track, paddocks and Al Lang Field take up approximately 24 acres, leaving about 60 acres or 2.5 million square feet of available fan space.
Additional event information and customer FAQs will be posted at gpstpete.com in the coming days. Ticket purchasers on file and also those customers who deferred tickets from the 2020 event will receive a direct communication on the renewal and ticketing process.
The event will be subject to the guidance and mandates of national, state and local authorities regarding public gatherings as the conditions evolve with the ongoing pandemic.